A small plane landed on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx Saturday afternoon after an apparent engine malfunction, officials said.
The plane, which took off in Danbury, Conn., landed near East 233rd Street. The three people on board had taken a tour of the Statue of Liberty and were heading home.
The passengers and pilot did not sustain serious injuries, and all three were released from St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx Saturday night.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing, when the plane hit the ground it came straight down and hit the treetops," said Miguel Lopez, a supervisor with the Department of Transportation who was doing repair work on the roadway when he saw the plan approaching at around 3:30 p.m.
Lopez said he used his truck to prevent oncoming cars from colliding with the downed plane.
The four-seat, single-engine 1966 Piper PA plane had minor damage, according to the FAA.
It is registered to Michael Schwartz of South Salem, N.Y., and
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the Danbury Municipal Airport confirmed that Schwartz was the pilot when it took off.
The accident caused massive traffic backups and shut down the expressway's northbound lanes for several hours, but city officials said it could have been much worse.
"We have an extraordinary situation and actually a miracle, thank God, that happened today in our city," said Mayor de Blasio.