The pilot of a jet that made an emergency landing on Highway 407 in Markham on Wednesday morning says he had no other choice than to land on the busy highway.
Before 11 a.m., the plane landed in the eastbound lanes of the highway near the Woodbine Avenue off ramp.
A photo that went viral on social media showed a single-engine propeller plane on the road with police cars parked behind it.
According to OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of CP24, the plane took off successfully but immediately ran into troubles.
“They experienced at some engine sputtering. They looked back at the airfield to see if they could make it back to Buttonville,” he said.
He said the plane had just completed regular maintenance prior to the flight.
The pilot told the OPP he departed Buttonville Airport and reached an altitude of 2,000 feet when the engine on the plane began to sputter.
“Once we turned towards Buttonville, we knew we couldn’t make the field, it was a really tough decision,” the pilot, who police identified as Ibrahim, said. “At that point we had to turn right for the highway.”
He said he and his co-pilot tried to restart the plane’s engine, but assumed it was not coming back.
He said putting down on the highway was his only viable option.
“It was either this or the buildings. I was happy this worked out.”
Highway 407 ETR says three lanes of the highway were blocked for a period of time due to emergency crew response.
Public aviation records identify the plane as a Piper PA-28 registered to Caribbean Flying Club in Toronto.
The OPP is conducting an investigation into the incident.
Schmidt said the plane did not sustain any damage and both occupants emerged unharmed.
It was lifted onto a tow truck at about 1:30 p.m.