Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Downtown Airport

MONTREAL (CP) - One of Montreal's major thoroughfares was turned into an impromptu runway Sunday afternoon when a small plane was force to land minutes from the downtown core.

A Cessna was spotted flying close to the ground as it crossed over the east side of Mount Royal, where hundreds of Montrealers traditionally gather on Sundays to play bongos or simply lounge on the grass.

The plane then lined up with Parc Avenue, one of the city's major north-south arteries, and promptly touched down in front of scores of baffled onlookers.

Though police had little advance warning and were unable to cordon off the street, the pilot managed to land the plane without incident.

The pilot and his passengers, a 49-year-old man and his 10-year-old son, were not injured, nor was anybody on the ground.

The father said the plane's lone engine cut out during an aerial tour of the city, and he commended the pilot's skills for giving the precarious situation a happy ending.

"The plane was very stable, even without the engine it was very stable," the man told all-news channel LCN. "Our pilot was a real professional, no panic, it was strict business."

Aside from a street sign that was clipped by one of the plane's wings, the landing caused no other damage.
Police suspect that mechanical failure or a fuel shortage forced the pilot to make the emergency landing.
Transport Canada is investigating.


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