By JAMES DRAPER
A small plane made an emergency landing on U.S. Hwy. 259/31 on the north side of Kilgore early Tuesday afternoon, ultimately coming to a stop in the parking lot of the Executive Inn.
Emergency responders were soon on the scene after the aircraft touched-down in the 3500 block of the roadway at about 1 p.m.
The unidentified pilot has almost 40 years of experience on the stick.
According to an update from Kilgore PD, “The pilot was flying pipelines and experienced engine troubles. He was trying to make it back to an airport when his altitude continued to drop and forced him to make an emergency landing in the southbound lanes of Hwy. 31.”
No one was injured in the incident. A witness reported the pilot was walking around the plane as emergency personnel approached.
“No apparent damage,” according to Ryan Polk, who saw the plane approaching, southbound, following the highway. “I was very worried – it was wobbling as it went down 259.
“It made it safely into the Executive Inn parking lot. As far as I can tell, the people are OK.”
Per Texas Department of Public Safety, the Federal Aviation Administration was notified of the incident.
“The plane will be towed to the East Texas Regional Airport in Gregg County,” Trooper Jean Dark confirmed Tuesday.
On Saturday, another aircraft crashed on take-off from a local airstrip. That pilot was hospitalized following the incident, and the FAA is investigating.