DOTD to close interstate Friday night to remove plane that made emergency landing

DOTD to close interstate Friday night to remove plane that made emergency landing
A small plane downed near I-10 at Bluff Road Wednesday morning

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worked a plane crash off of I-10 near Bluff Road and Highland Road in East Baton Rouge Parish Wednesday morning.

A single engine 4-passenger aircraft made a crash landing just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 3 in an eastbound lane of I-10 between the Highland Road exit and Bayou Manchac.

A map of where the plane was downed off of I-10 near Highland Road and Bluff Road (Source: WAFB)
A map of where the plane was downed off of I-10 near Highland Road and Bluff Road (Source: WAFB)

The pilot, James Ritter of Prairieville, was the only person in the craft and was treated for minor injuries.

Ritter says he suddenly lost oil pressure and made an emergency landing on the interstate, clipping a truck on the way down. Officials say the truck left the scene.

"As I was coming down, evidently I skidded across the top of an 18-wheeler I couldn’t see. It came up underneath me and then once I skidded off of him, it threw me sideways and skidded through the ditch and into the trees,” Ritter said.

The aircraft came to rest in the tree line just off the side of the roadway.

“Any landing you walk away from is a good landing,” Ritter said. “Got scratches a little bit and beat up, but shaken up, but that comes with the territory. I’m fortunate, some wood to knock on. Been flying since I was 18 and [this is] the first time that’s ever happened, so I’m thankful for that.”

Officials with Louisiana State Police say the plane will remain in place along the interstate overnight so crews with the FAA can complete their crash investigation.

LSP is providing security at the scene and a trooper will stay at the scene at all times until the plane can be safely removed from the side of the interstate.

DOTD says both eastbound lanes of I-10 between Highland Road and LA 73 will be closed completely Friday, April 5 in order to remove the plane from the side of the road. The closure will begin at midnight Friday and is expected to last until about 4 a.m. Saturday. These times may vary due to weather and logistics. The westbound side of I-10 will remain open.

The plane will be taken to the DOTD maintenance yard at LA 73/LA 621.

Drivers may detour the closed eastbound lanes by exiting at Highland Road, traveling north to Airline Highway, east to LA 73, then south on LA 73 to reconnect with I-10. DOTD will monitor the traffic along the detour route and make any necessary changes to the traffic signals to keep drivers moving as quickly as possible. Message boards will also be placed along the detour route to help direct drivers.

(Source: DOTD)

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