Pilot makes emergency landing in ditch near shopping center

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A pilot whose small plane suffered engine failure made an emergency landing in a ditch outside a shopping center while customers watched.

Posted: Oct. 22, 2018 9:36 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A pilot whose small plane suffered engine failure made an emergency landing in a ditch outside a shopping center while customers watched.

The FAA says it's investigating Sunday afternoon's emergency landing on Indianapolis' far northwest side.

Pilot Greg Mahler says his Piper PA32's engine failed shortly after takeoff from Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport and he initially planned to land on a road, but saw too many cars.

That forced him to land in a ditch adjacent a Dick's Sporting Goods store's parking lot. He wasn't injured.

Ron Watson watched the plane's landing. He called it "a miracle" and says he doesn't know how the pilot landed the aircraft.

Mahler tells WTHR he's been a pilot for 30 years, and a flight instructor for 20 years. He says, "Flying is my obsession."

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