A student pilot was considered a "lucky man" by Box Elder County sheriff's officers after safely landing an inoperable plane by the Great Salt Lake.

The pilot, David B. Gibbons, 23, of Farmington, was apparently flying over the lake during a routine practice lesson when his single-engine Cessna apparently developed engine problems, said Box Elder County sheriff's spokesman Ron Ogborn."Anybody coming out unharmed from a plane with serious mechanical problems should be considered a lucky man," Ogborn said.

Ogborn said Gibbons landed the defective aircraft about 12:30 p.m. 10 miles west of the Hogup Mountains on the mud flats, where the Great Salt Lake has receded.

He said Ogden fire officials notified the sheriff's office of the accident.

Initial reports misled deputy sheriffs to believe the aircraft had landed 50 miles west of the Ogden City Airport, which delayed their response and rescue effort, Ogborn said.

But another pilot who was flying over the downed plane alerted airport tower officials of the plane's exact location, Ogborn said.

Ogborn also said 10 members of the Box Elder County Jeep Patrol responded to search for the aircraft.

Gibbons was rescued about 3 p.m. by an LDS Hospital's LifeFlight helicopter.