Police officials are calling it "amazing" — a plane crash landed on U.S. 50 this morning, but the pilot survived without injury and no motorists were compromised.
"You hear 'plane crash' and your mind thinks 'Oh dear.' The pilot did a very good job of maintaining control of his airplane," said Jamie Head, Delta Police Department spokeswoman.
Delta police officers, along with Delta Fire and the Colorado State Patrol, responded to the 1300 block of U.S. 50 in north Delta at about 11:27 a.m., when motorists called in the crash landing.
Officers found a small, blue and white single engine plane resting on the highway's shoulder, with a single occupant who was apparently unharmed.
Head said the plane was flying from Grand Junction when it experienced engine trouble that caused power failure. The pilot was rerouted to the Delta airport, but was forced to try to land about 3 miles shy of the airfield.
The best option: the westbound lane of 50. The pilot clipped a power line on the way down, though, and also lost a wheel from his landing gear, Head said.
He was, however, able to maintain control of his craft until it hit a fence.
No vehicles were hit.
"Drivers must have been paying attention and must have given him the room he needed. He set it down out there. Nobody was injured," Head said.
Both westbound lanes of travel were closed for about two hours and the two eastbound lanes were converted to single-lane traffic during that time.
"I just think it's amazing how it all turned out. He maintained control of that plane and tried to get it off the shoulder of the road in the dirt to get his plane off the highway," Head said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating and has asked the DPD not to release the pilot's name, Head said.