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Plane Makes An Emergency Landing on a Minnesota Highway

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  • The Minnesota State Patrol reported that it was an emergency landing due to engine failure.
  • The plane crashed into another vehicle, but there were no injuries.
  • The pilot is skilled in a competitive aerobatic flying and represented the U.S. in international competition.

One or two of those who were driving along the Twin Cities freeway in Minnesota on December 2 had the surprise of their lives when a small plane landed right smack in the middle of the road. The Minnesota State Patrol reported that it was an emergency landing due to engine failure.

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According to the state patrol’s report, the plane, which was a single engine Bellanca Viking, was forced to make an emergency landing on the Twin Cities freeway. The landing happened on the I-35W in Arden Hills, a city in Ramsey County, Minnesota.

The plane crashed into another vehicle, but there were no injuries. Brittany Yurik, the passenger of the car that was hit by the plane, said that she “saw (the plane) coming at me probably one second before we collided.”

The pilot was identified as Craig Gifford, a 52-year-old Minneapolis resident and a competitive aerobatic pilot, which makes him skilled at flying aircraft in a series of maneuvers. This allowed him to execute a “textbook emergency landing” on the interstate.

The pilot represented the United States in international competition in 2017 and 2019 on the Unlimited Aerobatic Team. He won the bronze medal at the world championships in South Africa in 2017.

Gifford himself declined to comment since the incident was being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Yurik said she was able to talk to Gifford, whom she described as kind and apologetic. She said that the pilot explained to her what happened.

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