MADERA COUNTY – A man piloting a small plane made an emergency landing along an orchard on Highway 41 shortly before 5 p.m. this afternoon.
The pilot, whose name is not being released at this hour, walked away unscathed, according to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.
The pilot reportedly smelled fuel as he was heading north to Reno, NV, from Carlsbad, Calif., and realizing he was losing fuel, turned back south. He apparently attempted a landing on the dirt path of an orchard just west of Highway 41, north of Avenue 12, where he skidded and crashed through the landowner’s barbed wire fence.
Despite coming to a stop within three inches of the roadway, no one was injured. Traffic, however, slowed down to a crawl for roughly two hours as crews on scene attempted to rig the heavily damaged plane onto a tow truck.
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) are now investigating.