Pilot told passenger ‘we’re going down’ seconds before Clearwater emergency landing

(Photo courtesy Marc Benedict)

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – “We’re going down!”

That’s what pilot Marc Benedict told his roommate before making an emergency landing on a busy road Sunday morning.

Pinellas County sheriff dash cams caught the dramatic scene.

With an airborne engine failure, Benedict had to put the plane down right away.

Seconds later, he did just that, in the middle of Keene Road in Clearwater.

A small tree spun the plane into a fence.

“There’s a lot to do and it requires concentration, and it’s the culmination of a lot of good training,” said Captain John Cox, retired pilot and current consultant for Safety Operating Systems.

Captain Cox said take offs and landings are the most critical times.

“Based on the video I saw, he did a really good job. The airplane is under control, the landing gear is down. Clearly, he is flying the airplane. He is thinking. He’s deliberately putting it in a safe place,” said Captain Cox.

The pilot of plane that landed on the road said he and his roommate had flown to the Zephyrhills airport, topped off his fuel tanks, then made the trip back to Clearwater Airpark.

Over the “Top of the World” community, not far from the landing strip, Benedict discovered he could not climb and was losing power.

He told passenger Greg Guinee, “we’re going down.”

Seeing traffic in the southbound lanes, he headed for the northbound side.

He yelled for Greg to “brace.”

Seconds later, he hit a sapling, which made him lose control.

With the tanks ruptured, both got out. Captain Cox believes it was lucky there was not a spark to start a fire.

The pilot suspects something happened with the plane’s fuel system.

He’s very happy nobody got hurt and while he missed church yesterday, he plans to be there next Sunday.

Follow Peter Bernard on Facebook

WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON RIGHT NOW:

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s