A Florida man and his passenger are lucky to be alive after crashing their single-engine plane on a busy street in the middle of day in the city of Clearwater—and the dramatic scene was caught on tape by the dash cam of a police officer who just happened to be parked in the landing zone.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the four-seat Rockwell Commander 112A aircraft had just departed Clearwater Airpark on Sunday morning when it began experiencing engine trouble, reports WFLA. The pilot, 61-year-old Marc Allen Benedict, told officials he didn’t think he could make it back to the airport, instead opting to line up with nearby North Keene Road for an emergency landing.
As luck would have it, two Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies had responded to a traffic stop just minutes before the crash and were already parked along the median of the road. The video, spliced together using the dash cams from both cruisers, shows the small plane careening down from the sky, banking hard just feet above the roadway, and clipping a small tree before spinning wildly and sliding to a stop.
“His words to me: He would have made it if it had not been for that small tree,” a spokesman with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office told WFLA.
Thankfully, both Benedict and his passenger were able to walk away from the wreckage, and no one on the ground was injured. Officials are still investigating the root cause of the crash. But if you’re traveling to Florida soon, keep your eyes on the skies—it’s actually the second time in two months that a small plane has crash landed on a busy road in the middle of the day.