Plane lost power before pilot made 'absolutely amazing' safe landing on Calgary street

The pilot of a small plane with six people aboard reported it was losing power shortly before she managed to veer around buildings and dodge light poles to make an "amazing" safe landing on a Calgary street.

6 people were on board the Piper Navajo that clipped a light post before landing safely

A small plane with engine trouble landed on 36th Street near 16th Avenue N.E. in Calgary early Wednesday. (Dave Will/CBC)

Before making an emergency landing on a northeast Calgary street, the pilot of a Piper Navajo radioed the control tower to report a problem with the plane.

"I've just lost the right fuel pump, that's why we're requesting 35 right," the pilot can be heard saying on the recording obtained by CBC News. 

The plane landed safely on 36th Street, just south of 16th Avenue N.E.

No injuries were reported. 

The small plane was inbound to Calgary International Airport with six people aboard just after 5:30 a.m. MT.

Acting District Chief Jason Graham of the Calgary Fire Department said the pilot did "an amazing job" to land the plane safely.

Plane lands on Calgary street

4 years ago
Duration 0:07
The pilot of a Piper Navajo plane was forced to make an emergency landing on 36th Street N.E. in Calgary.

Graham said a crane will be brought in from the airport to lift the plane onto a flatbed truck. Police said it had minor damage.

The plane was towed over to grass on the shoulder of the road, which reopened to traffic shortly after 4 p.m. local time Wednesday.

The plane, registered to Super T Aviation, left Medicine Hat, Alta., about 4:45 a.m. and was headed to Calgary, a company official said.

Investigators photograph the damaged wing of the plane. (CBC)

Owner Terri Super said the pilot has been with the company for "several years" and has more than 20 years of flight experience. 

The company said in a statement that the plane was forced to land "due to a loss of power of unknown cause."

Mike Adam, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said it's too early to speculate on a cause for the emergency landing.

"We will be collecting data, we'll conduct witness interviews, we'll examine and photograph the wreckage," he said.

"We'll also examine the maintenance history, meteorological conditions, operation of the equipment, operation policies, and regulation requirements."

The plane was moved off the road so it could be reopened to traffic Wednesday afternoon. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Merle Johnson, CEO of Calgary-based Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd., said the four passengers are his employees who were heading to the Fort McMurray area to work.

He said following the emergency landing he decided to send them home to Medicine Hat.

"They will not be returning to work this week," Johnson said. "Our main focus is on their safety and we are very grateful that there were no physical injuries sustained to the passengers or the crew."

Passengers shaken but unhurt 

Jarrett Stobbe had just left the C-Train and was walking to work when he saw the plane about 10 metres overhead. 

"I heard this loud noise and looked up, and it come right over my head," he said. "It was coming in at kind of an angle and clipped that light post, then landed. The pilot did a heck of a job to get it down like that."

A piece of wing broke off when the plane clipped a light pole before landing. (Dave Will/CBC)

Another witness, Michael Nadon, said he wasn't sure what he was seeing was real.

"I had to do a double take, definitely, this early in the morning," he said. "It looked like it [the plane] was approaching these businesses here, but it veered off just enough and that's when it clipped the light post."

Nadon spoke to people on board who said they were shaken but unhurt.

"They were mentioning that the plane lost its fuel pump. The female pilot, she landed the plane absolutely amazingly, given the circumstances."

Jamal Hammoud, who lives just off of 36th Street in Marlborough, said he woke up at 5:45 a.m. to have a drink of water when he glanced out the window and saw the fire trucks and police cars. He initially thought it was a C-Train accident.

"So I look for the C-Train and all I see is an airplane in the middle of the road. It's crazy," Hammoud said.

He said he was amazed the pilot was able to land the plane on what is usually a busy stretch of road filled with early morning commuters.

"You see that in the movies. You'd never think the pilot could land the airplane like that."

With files from Dave Will, the Canadian Press