What caused a six-passenger, single engine Piper aircraft to make an emergency landing on Highway 16 between Bandera and Pipe Creek on Saturday, Jan. 11, remained a mystery this week.
Both people in the aircraft were able to walk away from the aircraft after landing on Highway 16 near Bear Creek Road at about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, authorities said.
Bandera County Emergency Medical Service Director Calvin Plummer said the pilot, whose name was unavailable, told paramedics a small fire erupted in the plane’s cabin before he decided to bring it down on the busy roadway.
The plane’s right wing was damaged when it hit a guardrail on the highway or a sign, and its landing gear was crumpled, but no cars were damaged in the incident and no other problems arose, authorities said.
KENS5 News in San Antonio quoted eyewitness Sarrah Payne as saying the plane flew over the top of her car and landed on the highway. Payne said it was a rather hard landing that caused the airplane to slide into a guardrail.
She said it looked like the pilot was the only person on board, but other investigators said a second person was also in the aircraft.
Officials said the airplane did not catch on fire.
The Bandera County Sheriff’s office said the landing did not force officials to close Highway 16 and confirmed no one was hurt in the accident.
The Piper craft, which is registered in Federal Aviation Administration records to Mission Flight Charter Services in San Antonio, was still sitting on the side of Highway 16 east of Bear Creek on Monday, Jan. 13, awaiting the arrival of scene investigators.
Officials with Mission Flight Charter could not be reached for comment.
Texas Department of Public Safety investigators said they secured the scene of the emergency landing but turned the investigation over to the FAA.
Officials with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board said on Monday that the incident was still under investigation and had no details about what caused the emergency.