UPDATED: Single-engine plane lands on I-94 off-ramp near Jamestown
JAMESTOWN, N.D. - A light airplane made an unplanned weather-forced landing on Interstate 94 at exit 242 this morning.
There were no injuries in the incident that was reported to law enforcement officers at 10:30 a.m. Exit 242 is near the town of Windsor, about 16 miles west of Jamestown.
Patrick Paul William, of Salem, Ore., was flying a 1941 Taylorcraft plane from Inver Grove, Minn., to Oregon when weather conditions deteriorated. He was alone in the aircraft.
"He made a purposeful landing due to the weather," said Chad Kaiser, Stutsman County sheriff. "There were no injuries in the incident."
Kaiser said the plane is not equipped with instrumentation and flies by visual flight rules. When low clouds and fog prevented William from seeing the ground well, he landed the aircraft on the nearest segment of highway he could see.
"He landed on the westbound off-ramp and stopped at the top of the ramp just north of the overpass," Kaiser said. "We've reported it to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and there is no problem with what he did. He did the right and safe thing."
Kaiser said William had intended to land and remain with the plane until the weather cleared. With the weather conditions continuing to deteriorate, the plane was left in place until weather conditions improve.
"He'll just take off from there when the conditions are good enough," Kaiser said.
Keith Norman is a reporter at The Jamestown Sun which is owned by Forum Communications Company.