Pilot, passenger unharmed after plane makes unexpected landing in Elkhart
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A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing in a cornfield northwest of Elkhart Thursday, July 26. The field is located just north of C.R. 12 and just east of Ash Road on Elkhart's northwest side. (Photo by Sharon Hernandez)
Cleveland Township firefighters and deputies from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department investigate an emergency plane landing in a field just north of C.R. 12 between Ash Road and C.R. 1 Thursday afternoon, July 25.
Truth Photo By Sharon Hernandez
Cleveland Township firefighters and deputies from the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department investigate an emergency plane landing in a field just north of C.R. 12 between Ash Road and C.R. 1 Thursday afternoon, July 25, 2013. Two people were were riding the plane at the time of the landing and were not injured, officials said. (Truth Photo By Sharon Hernandez)
Just before noon on Thursday, July 25, the plane carrying two people made an emergency landing in a field a quarter-mile north of C.R. 12, between Ash Road and C.R. 1 on Elkhart’s northwest side.
According to a press release from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, the pilot, Stacy Jo Lutes, of Shipshewana, and a passenger did not suffer any injuries during the emergency landing.
Emergency crews from Cleveland Township Fire Department and Elkhart Fire Department responded to the scene. Deputies from Elkhart and St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Departments and Indiana State Police also assisted.
According to officials, the Piper PA-12 had to make a landing after experiencing engine failure and not having enough power to make it to the airport.
Crews blocked C.R. 12 between Ash Road and C.R. 1 to traffic while they tried to find a way through a field to get to the plane. There was no damage to the plane or the field, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
“We were outside gardening and we heard the plane and all of a sudden, we heard it lose its power,” Stemm said. “It started back up and then backfired. You could see it through the trees.”
Stemm, 44, also said the plane lost power and backfired a second time.
“Then we heard nothing and we didn’t hear a crash. We ran and couldn’t see anything,” said Stemm, who lives north of McKinley near Birch Road, just west of the Elkhart-St. Joseph County line. Stemm then called the tower at Elkhart Municipal Airport to report the incident.
The Sheriff’s Department initiated the investigation and forwarded a report to the Federal Aviation Administration.