Small plane lands on Idaho interstate during rush hour

Keith Ridler
Associated Press

Boise, Idaho — A small aircraft with a single engine that stopped working made a belly landing on Interstate 84 in Boise, Idaho, right at the start of rush hour traffic Tuesday morning.

Two law enforcement agencies say the small craft skidded onto the eastbound lanes at about 7 a.m., and that there are no reports of injuries or vehicles involved.

Andy Patrick, owner of Boise-based SP Aircraft, said the only person aboard was the pilot who forgot to use a second fuel tank, leading the engine to quit.

“He had plenty of fuel in the aircraft,” Patrick said. “He just made a mistake and forgot to switch fuel tanks. The pilot made an error and wasn’t able to make the runway.”

He said the pilot was flying freight from Spokane, Washington, to Boise. SP Aircraft is a charter business that also offers flights into the Idaho backcountry and can move freight by air.

The spot where the plane landed is about a mile west of the Boise Airport. The landing was in the dark except for lights on the interstate, as sunrise at the time of the landing was still about an hour away.

“This was probably his best choice,” said Santiago Guerricabeitia of the Idaho Transportation Department’s Division of Aeronautics. “If he did have an engine failure, there’s not a lot of time.”

The number on the craft identifies it as a single-engine Cessna T210K. Patrick declined to say what kind of freight was aboard the craft or name the pilot. The craft’s propeller bent from striking the pavement, but Patrick said damage to the plane can be repaired.

Crews moved the aircraft off the interstate just before 9 a.m.