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Pilot who landed on highway said he had to think fast

November 12, 2019

EXETER, R.I. (AP) — The New York pilot who landed his plane in the breakdown lane of a Rhode Island highway says he had just seconds to make life-or-death decisions.

Rafael Campos says 15 minutes after he took off from T.F Green Airport in Warwick on Saturday, the engine of his Rockwell Commander 112 died, and he glided the four-seater plane down from 3,500 feet.

The 60-year-old Hempstead, New York man says the nearest airport was in Richmond, about five miles away, so he landed on the northbound side of Interstate 95 in Exeter. No one was hurt.

He says cars stopped on the highway and the drivers got out to hug him.

He forgot to deploy the landing gear but thinks landing on aluminum instead of rubber helped slow down the plane faster.