Small plane lands on Bradenton road

- Drivers on U.S. 301 in Manatee County are used to seeing airplanes around them.  But they are not used to seeing them in traffic.

"I was like, what the heck is going on?" said Art Naguibine. "I was driving and I see an airplane just kind swerving to the right to park."

A plane, flown by Thomas Frick, touched down on U.S. 301 near Whitfield industrial park.  Frick had been cleared to land at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, on his way in from St. Petersburg, when he had engine trouble.

"As he was descending, he said his engine started sputtering. Around 900 feet it just quit all together," said Lionel Guilbert the airport's operations manager.

Airport officials said the flight instructor caught a break when traffic caught a red light.

"He looked behind, he saw there was a red light holding the traffic; he thought it was safe to land," said Guilbert.

Art Naguibine was pulling into work when he noticed the plane on the roadway.

"Cars were basically driving around him," said Naguibine.

Frick was able to navigate to the grassy side of the road.  He didn't want to talk about the landing.

Airport officials said he wasn't hurt, but he was a little shaken by the experience.

The plane was towed to the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. It will remain there until investigators with the FAA can pinpoint what exactly went wrong.

"They will finish the investigation and find out what happened hopefully," said Guilbert.

For now, everyone is counting their blessings and thanking that red light.

"It is pretty shocking to see that nobody was injured on a rush hour school day," said Dan McDowell.

The single-engine Cessna is registered to Skycatcher LLC in Tampa.

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