Small plane makes crash landing near Salt Lake City International Airport
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — A private plane made a crash landing about a mile north of Salt Lake City International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
Airport officials reported there were no injuries to the pilot. Initially, there were reports of two people on board, but airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann confirmed there was only one.
The Cessna Centurion crashed in the area of 2100 North and 1700 West, near an ATV park just before 2 p.m.
Gann said the pilot had reported having mechanical issues with the plane, possibly because his gas tank was low or empty. She said the pilot looked for a field to make an emergency landing.
Johnny Longhaul was working with a road construction crew near the area the plane went down.
"For whatever reason, we just looked up and saw this plane. Because the airport is not right there but the altitude was so low, you thought, 'What's this dude doing?'" he said. "He was losing altitude in a hurry and then turned around, like did a sharp banking turn. He was westbound and losing altitude, and he was really, really low at this point. I would guess maybe 100 feet in the air when he did that turn."
Longhaul said the plane looked like a crop duster because it was flying so low. He said it appeared the pilot was experienced because of the quick maneuvering he made to prevent the aircraft from crashing hard.
Longhaul said he and his partner later drove by the airplane and talked to some of the firefighters at the scene.
"From what we could see, (the plane) was pretty much intact. It was upright with the tail still intact," he said.
Longhaul said one official mentioned the plane possibly ran out of gas.
As per protocol when a plane goes down, Gann said the airspace around the airport was closed for about 20 minutes after the accident, meaning no flights could take off or land.
One Southwest plane flying into Salt Lake City diverted and landed in Ogden, Gann said. The plane waited for Salt Lake City International Airport to reopen before taking off again and completing its original flight.
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