KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The pilot of a small plane says he was forced to make an emergency landing on I-40 East in Knoxville at Papermill on Saturday because of an engine failure.
Reports of the plane being on the highway began around 1:45 p.m. WATE’s Ella Wales spoke with officers and the pilot on the scene. The pilot, Dale Grubbs, said that the he was forced to land the plane after having engine troubles.
“The engine failed while I was on a routine flight, I was just flying around and it stopped. I tried to go through my progressions trying to get it to start or keep going and there wasn’t anything. At that point you just have to find a place to put it down because you’re coming down.” Grubbs said.
Police say that the plane scraped the wall of the highway.
“We got a call of an airplane that tried to land on the interstate, apparently it had engine failure and he was looking for a place to pull it down and found the interstate, luckily didn’t find any cars with it. He was able to safely pull it down and everyone was good to go.” Sgt. Thomas Clinton said.
The plane remained on the side of the road while police await the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.
“So now we’re waiting on FAA clearance to remove the plane, we’ll get it out of the roadway and have them take care of it from that point on. For right now, it’s going to sit here until we get the authorization to do that.” Clinton said. ” Luckily, it’s in a good place where we don’t clog up too much of the interstate, most of the lanes are open and everyone is still moving.”
Around 3:30 p.m., the plane was towed from where it was parked on the interstate.
Tennessee Department of Transportation Spokesman Mark Nagi shared an alert about the plane on Twitter. Nagi said that the small plane had made an emergency landing on the highway and that there was no significant injury, but the right lane of the highway was closed in that area.
Knoxville Police Department also shared an update on social media saying that the pilot is ‘OK’ after landing on I-40 in Knoxville, and it is not believed that any vehicles were struck.
According to Nagi, the plane will be loaded up and taken off the interstate as soon as possible.
EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated with new information.