A Cessna 206 made a crash landing in a front yard in Plaquemines Parish Wednesday morning.
BRAITHWAITE, LA (WVUE) -
Along Highway 39, it was a sight few people expected to see.
Shortly after 9 a.m., a Cessna 206 left the sky. Skid marks chronicled its ground-level path after the single-engine plane clipped power lines over the roadway near the Mississippi River on the west bank of Plaquemines Parish.
"The pilot was a little shaken up," said Lt. Mitchell Meyers, with the Plaquemines Parish Fire Department.
Meyers could have been shaken up himself. The plane came to rest in his front yard while he was on duty.
"We got a call that an incident happened at the Belle Chasse Ferry, so as we proceeded to come to the Belle Chasse Ferry," he said. "We noticed that it wasn't at the ferry, and I looked in this direction and I see police cars in front of my house and so we come down this way and that's when we noticed what it was."
Four people, including the pilot, were on the plane.
"Oh well," Meyers said. "It's just one of those things. In this turn, since I've been here, we've had many incidents. First time we've ever had a plane, but we've had many incidents - that of different cars and motorbikes and stuff of that nature."
The FAA said preliminary information indicated the Cessna lost engine power soon after takeoff. The plane is registered to Belle Chasse-based Southern Seaplane, Inc., which is just across the Mississippi River from Braithwaite.
The pilot's skills are being praised.
"I guess he could be considered a hero in this incident," said Commander Eric Becnel, public information officer for the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office. "He saw a place where he could land the plane, which was an open field, he maneuvered the plane, and when he was maneuvering the plane to go and land it, he took a lower power line out and actually came across Highway 39."
As the plane remained entangled in a small tree in the yard, firefighters worked meticulously to remove the remaining fuel with Meyers looking on.
"It's about 30-something gallons that are in that one wing," he said.
And in hindsight, Meyers is grateful for the positioning of the tree planted years ago.
"I don't think that's what stopped them, but I think it's just luck of the draw," he said.
The pilot and passenger have a lot to be thankful for, as well.
"Just one minor injury to a knee, but didn't need to have any medical attention to it," said Becnel.
"I said y'all are lucky sons of a gun, they were calm, they were fine," Meyers said.
For sure, it was no ordinary day on the job for the fire department lieutenant.
"Well, I'm okay because he never hit my house or anything like that."
A vice president of Southern Seaplane, Inc., would not comment on what may have caused the plane to lose power. She said they would wait for the findings of the FAA and National Transporation Safety Board investigations.