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Pilot Discusses Landing Small Plane On Route 23 In West Milford, NJ

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after a small plane was forced to make an emergency landing on a New Jersey highway Thursday afternoon.

It happened around 1 p.m. on Route 23 in West Milford near Reservoir Road.

The pilot, Christopher Okechukwu, 51, of Paramus, said he was gliding for about 10 miles, looking for a place to land after his single-engine Cessna C150 lost power, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing On Route 23 In West Milford, N.J.

"There wasn't enough time to call for help," Okechukwu said. "I was looking for a highway, and luckily I found this and headed for it. Once you see what looks like a runway, you don't leave it; you hang onto it.

The pilot of 15 years said he dipped under electrical wires before safely landing his powerless plane in the northbound lanes in between in front of a truck and behind other cars.

"And tried to match the speed of the vehicles on the highway," he told WCBS 880's Levon Putney.

"You have to realize that no one can help you at that point," Okechukwu told CBS2's Dick Brennan. "You've got to put your plane down or you'll die."

Police said the plane did not hit any vehicles, and no injuries were reported.

Pilot Discusses Landing Small Plane On Route 23 In West Milford, N.J.

Police in West Milford said they were bombarded with calls.

"The reports came in through 911," said Capt. Richard Fiorilla. "We got numerous calls. Officers responded. He was off to the right shoulder of the road already. One lane of traffic was open for quite some time."

Okechukwu was the only one on board.

The plane took off in Lincoln Park and refueled in Orange County, New York. Okechukwu was headed back to land in Lincoln Park when trouble hit. He thinks ice may be to blame.

The emergency room doctor and father of three said he won't quit flying after the scare.

"I'm not afraid. It's just I didn't expect this to happen," he said.

Officials loaded the plane onto a flatbed truck and cleared the roadway.

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