Emergency Crash Landing at the Fort Wayne International Airport

By Scott Sarvay
By Maureen Mespell
By John W. Davis

July 28, 2011 Updated Jul 28, 2011 at 11:52 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- A heart stopping moment at Fort Wayne International Airport, Thursday afternoon.

A crash landing at the airport required all-hands on deck but the story has a happy ending.

Tory Richardson, Executive Director of Airports says, “Literally it was just seconds after it came to a rest that the doors were open and the occupants were out. They literally did a great job from the very beginning right up to the very end.”

It all happened around 4:20 Thursday afternoon, a pilot radios in to the Fort Wayne Air Traffic Control Tower with a simple, yet important request…an emergency landing.

“It's my understanding they were coming from Oshkosh, Wisconsin,” says Richardson. “I believe they were heading to somewhere in Maryland. But before that they were going to make a fuel stop and that's what they indicated when they were going to go to a different airport for a fuel stop, that's when they realized they had an issue with their landing gear.”

The Beechcraft Bonanza circled Fort Wayne International and emergency crews lined the runway. Air traffic control gave them the go ahead and they set Runway 23 in their sights.

“They made a decision to come into FWA which was a larger facility, had longer runways. We had airport rescue firefighting people on staff and ready to respond,” says Richardson.

The plane touched down, but it didn't come to a stop for at least 1,000 feet. The pilot was right his nose gear was stuck. The plane tipped over, slid another 150 feet. Seconds later the pilot and his co-pilot hopped out the plane. Neither was hurt. They were checked out by emergency crews and both walked away with out a scratch.

Tory Richardson says, “Crews are here 24/7 to respond to those type of situations. They do training every single day to prep for those situations. You never know exactly what you're gonna have when one of these happens.”

Everything was over in 20 minutes. Airport executives say the pilot did everything right, and the emergency landing went as well as an emergency landing can go.

Richardson says an emergency landing, happens about once a year in Fort Wayne.

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