LINCOLN — There are no serious injuries reported after a small aircraft made an emergency landing and struck at least one vehicle Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 55 near Lincoln.
“We were traveling northbound on Interstate 55 after leaving Lincoln and saw this plane to our left near the cornfields,” said Ronald Childs, of Atlanta, a witness to the crash. “He was kind of low and then just started getting even lower and so we thought he might be a crop duster.”
But then, the plane ventured past the edge of a cornfield and onto the interstate, said Childs.
“He got really low, right above the cars and we saw his wheel hit the back of the car, knocking the window out,” he said. “We were still driving, but we couldn’t see him, but knew he wasn’t in the air anymore.”
The incident occurred around 2:40 p.m.
The plane is a Cessna 182B with four seats and was registered to Kilo Aviation out of Lacon.
Childs, who was traveling with his wife, Grace, stopped, turned around and returned to the crash scene. There, they saw the small yellow and black single-engine plane resting in the median with its wings still intact.
“He was out of the plane and he was fine,” said Childs, referring to the pilot. “The driver of the car had his son with him and they were both fine.
“But it was pretty intense.”
Police said William Farnsley, 51, of Austin, Ind., was attempting to land at Logan County Airport when for unknown reasons, the plane lost power and was forced to make the emergency landing in the southbound lanes of the interstate.
During the landing, the plane struck a passenger vehicle, causing minor damage to the automobile, owned by Jeremy Kampwerth, 42, of O'Fallon, who was traveling with his 9-year-old son.
The pilot tried to land the plane in the southbound lane, but it traveled through the median and came to rest on the left shoulder of the northbound lanes. The plane suffered damage to the landing gear and was towed from the scene, police said.
“It was an amazing thing to see,” said Bill Thomas, of Lincoln, who was also traveling northbound at the time of the crash. “It was surreal. It really took a minute to sink in to realize that you were witnessing something out of the ordinary.”
All lanes were re-opened by 5:20 p.m.
The investigation into the crash is continuing.