Motorists on Toronto’s highway 407 on Wednesday were surprised to discover that the left-lane hog slowing traffic on the toll road was actually a small, single-engine airplane.
The plane was forced to make an emergency landing on the stretch of highway, shortly after taking off from Buttonville airport in Markham, Ontario, just north of Toronto. The cause of the emergency landing was an engine failure, Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said in a video posted to Twitter.
Fortunately, the pilot and an instructor were able to make a safe landing without damaging the plane or any other vehicles and no injuries were reported.
🎥 New footage from our CCTV cameras of the plane that made an emergency landing eastbound on 407 ETR just west of Woodbine this morning! The plane has been removed from the scene and our team is in the process of reopening all lanes. pic.twitter.com/DlSDZBTEoz
— 407 ETR Traffic Alerts (@407ETR_Traffic) October 27, 2021
“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, adding that it’s “something you don’t see very often.”
In the video, Schmidt says that the airplane, registered as Piper PA-28-151, had been recently maintained and this was its maiden voyage after being inspected. According to the Toronto Star, public registration records show the plane was registered in December 2020 to the Caribbean Flying Club Inc., which is based in Toronto.
Per the CBC, the plane’s occupants were on their way to Grimsby, Ontario, which is about an hour away from the airport by car. When they noticed engine troubles, they notified air traffic control, but didn’t believe the airport to be reachable, and so chose to land on the highway instead.
Since landing, the plane has been safely craned onto a trailer and towed away. No charges are expected to be laid against the plane’s operators.
— OPP Highway Safety Division (@OPP_HSD) October 27, 2021