Video captures the moment a plane was forced to land on a highway north of Toronto

·2 min read
A small plane took off from Buttonville Municipal Airport in Markham, Ont., on Wednesday, but began experiencing mechanical issues and landed on stretch of Highway 407 north of Toronto soon after takeoff.  (Michael Cole/CBC - image credit)
A small plane took off from Buttonville Municipal Airport in Markham, Ont., on Wednesday, but began experiencing mechanical issues and landed on stretch of Highway 407 north of Toronto soon after takeoff. (Michael Cole/CBC - image credit)

A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing on a major highway just north of Toronto Wednesday morning.

The plane, flown by a pilot and an instructor, took off around 11 a.m. from Buttonville Municipal Airport in Markham, Ont., with no apparent issues, said Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt.

But a few minutes after takeoff, it began experiencing mechanical trouble after switching from its left fuel tank to the right, and landed on a 10-lane stretch of Highway 407, east of Woodbine Avenue.

"It doesn't get any more stressful than that, especially when you're flying over built-up areas," said Schmidt. "Here was the 407 right below them and they made a perfect landing."

CCTV cameras captured the moment the plane landed on the highway.

Plane had 'clean bill of health'

The pair was headed to Grimsby, Ont., when trouble began, and they immediately notified air traffic control.

They looked back at the airport where they'd taken off from and didn't think it was reachable, so decided to bring the plane down on the open stretch of highway in what Schmidt called "textbook" execution.

The plane, a 1970s-style Piper Warrior PA-28, had recently undergone maintenance work and had been given "a clean bill of health," according to Schmidt.

He said this was the plane's maiden flight after being inspected, "so obviously they're going to be looking into what took place."

Michael Cole/CBC
Michael Cole/CBC

No injuries, damages

"Certainly a surprise for motorists on the ground and obviously a very stressful experience for the pilots in the air as they're coming down with no other option, but again, they did a great job," said Schmidt, noting it's "something you don't see very often."

No one was injured, and there was no damage to the plane or any vehicles on the ground, police say.

The plane has been towed away and no charges are expected to be laid.

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