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Plane lands in median of major Anchorage street

8:20 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A pilot who made a safe emergency landing on a major Anchorage street said he lost power, waited for a break in traffic, then descended onto the snowy median.

Armon Tabrizi said he was not immediately sure where to land before deciding to put the Cessna 172RG Cutlass down in the middle of Boniface Parkway Tuesday afternoon, the Anchorage Daily News ( http://is.gd/ZctL6G ) reported. Tabrizi, 27, avoided cars and stoplights, and no one in the plane or on the ground was injured.

Meredith Hazen was driving on the four-lane street when the plane came down.

"I could see the left wing hit the ground, and the second car in front of me, I think, hit his brakes really hard," she said. "He went up on the snow and the barrier, because he didn't want to hit the wing."

Two other people were with Tabrizi in the plane, which is owned by Land and Sea Aviation, a flight school based at the city's Merrill Field. The incident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

"I can't talk too much about the investigation that's going on," Tabrizi said. "I'm just glad everybody is fine and stuff, and we'll see what happens."

The plane was on a routine maintenance flight, according to Ben Kinney, a flight instructor and operations supervisor for the company. He said the plane had not had any recent problems or gone through significant mechanical work.

Kinney said he couldn't speculate on what could've gone wrong.

Tabrizi, who also is a flight instructor, said the plane had "significant issues" as it was heading south after departing from Merrill Field. Passenger Arthur Racicot, a Land and Sea Aviation mechanic, and the other passenger, another pilot, remained calm.

"The engine never quit," Tabrizi said. "But we lost enough power and we were unable to maintain flight."

The three men on board discussed landing at Campbell Airstrip, but worried the plane would hit trees. Tabrizi said he also considered landing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

He landed instead on the median after seeing a break in traffic.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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