Pilot walks away after forced landing in St. Clair Township corn field

Pilot walks away after forced landing in St. Clair Township corn field
By Dan Taekema
CBC News Windsor
Link to article: Pilot walks away after forced landing in St. Clair Township corn field

The St. Clair Township Fire Department used a ladder truck, similar to the one pictured, to find a plane forced to land in a cornfield Thursday night.Cornfield Plane

Firefighters from St. Clair Township used a 115-foot ladder truck to find a plane hidden in corn field after an emergency landing Thursday night.

Air traffic control in London called the department about a plane they'd lost contact with near Brigden Road and Telfer Road around 11 p.m., according to fire chief Walt Anderson.

A crew rolled out and began searching in a unique way.

"We decided to set up one of our tower trucks ... with thermo-cameras on top," explained Anderson. "I though maybe we could pick up a heat source."

Pilot was shaken but not injured

Four firefighters were also searching the darkness from up in the bucket and spotted a small, red beacon flashing in the blackness.

Emergency crews from Sarnia, the OPP and Walpole Island police had also helped look for the plane and the firefighters directed them towards the light.

"When they came across the plane it hadn't been damaged much, it had a lot of corn and stuff wrapped around it," said the chief. "The pilot was OK, he had actually gotten out and was standing on the roof when he heard some people and started shinning a flashlight to help guide them."

"He said the engine sputtered a bit and kind of stopped." - St. Clair Township Fire Chief Walt Anderson

Despite the experience, the pilot of the two-seater craft seemed fine and was treated by EMS outside the cornfield and released, said Anderson.

"He was fairly calm, some of that may be a bit of shock from what he went through ... he seemed to have his wits about him and did a good job of setting the plane down," the chief explained. "He said the engine sputtered a bit and kind of stopped. It restarted and he was looking for where he could put down and at that point the engine completely quit so he just used it as a glider as best he could."

The investigation into what happened is now in the hands of the OPP and according to Anderson they've got their work cut out for them.

"Getting the plane out is going to be a challenge."

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