By: Katie Francis, Follow South Jersey Public Health Intern
OCEAN CITY, N.J. — Nobody was hurt when an 18-year-old pilot emergency-landed a small plane on the Route 52 Causeway between Somers Point and Ocean City early Monday afternoon.
Landon Lucas was flying the banner-pulling plane near Atlantic City’s popular Steel Pier boardwalk attraction when he noticed it was having engine trouble. Officials say Lucas released the banner attached to the Paramount Air Service plane into the ocean and headed for the Ocean City Municipal Airport.
According to police, Lucas was heading towards the airport, but he took advantage of a gap in traffic on the nearby bridge and decided to land. The Route 52 Causeway, which is more commonly known as the 9th Street Bridge, connects Somers Point and Ocean City. It’s a popular entrance and exit to the island for vehicles, bikers, and pedestrians, making the emergency landing quite a spectacle for the shore town visitors.
Pedestrians, drivers, and passengers on the causeway took in the bizarre scene all afternoon as authorities investigated. Both lanes inbound to Ocean City and one outbound remained open during the investigation, and the plane was removed from the bridge a little after 4 p.m. Monday.
Fortunately, Lucas didn’t sustain any injuries, and nobody else on the bridge was injured in the emergency landing. The young pilot’s work in making the emergency landing was quite impressive, as well, as there was no damage sustained to the plane or bridge — except for the plane’s faulty engine, which is the reason why Lucas made the emergency landing.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing, but for now, what could’ve been a potentially grim situation has a happy ending.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.