WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The pilot of a single-engine plane that made an emergency landing on a bus-only roadway in Connecticut said he asked an air traffic controller to tell his four children he loved them in case he didn’t survive.
But Danny Hall walked away from the crash landing in West Hartford on Saturday afternoon with only soreness in his back. It’s the second plane crash he has survived, and he said he’s considering giving up flying.
The 48-year-old roofing company owner from Torrington said his Skyline Cessna experienced engine problems and lost power while flying from Robertson Field in Plainville to Hartford-Brainard Airport. He radioed a controller at the Hartford airport while looking for a place to put the plane down.
“I said, ‘Tell my kids I love them if I don’t make it.’ He said, ‘OK. Good luck,’ ” Hall said.
While looking for a place to land, Hall noticed a road only a few miles from the Hartford airport that didn’t have any traffic on it.
“What I thought was a road was actually the bus route I guess they just built,” he said. “I was kind of questioning why there were no cars on it, but I figure if I’m going to land a plane, I’m going to try to put it somewhere where no one is going to get hurt.”
The plane narrowly missed several homes and businesses, and a wing broke off during the crash.
“When I got out of the plane after it got down, I noticed a little smoke coming up where the engine was, popped my seatbelt, opened the door, got out of the plane and as I was away from it I realized I was safe,” Hall said.
The $567 million bus-only corridor between Hartford and New Britain is nearing completion and is set to open early next year.
“The most important thing, I’m just happy no one got hurt, especially on the ground. I did what I had to do,” Hall said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating why the plane lost power.
Hall also survived a plane crash in 2008 into the Pawcatuck River in Westerly, Rhode Island. He said the engine on that Cessna failed about 2 miles from Westerly Airport.
He said an FAA investigation found that mice had built a nest in the plane and when he pulled a device that prevents icing, the mice and their nest were sucked into the carburetor, causing the engine to seize up.