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MINOCQUA (WAOW) -
A small plane made an emergency landing on Highway 70 W in Minocqua Friday night. The plane's pilot and co-pilot say the plane's engine failed, forcing them to land there.
The plane's pilot, Mark Peterson of Minocqua, said he's glad everything worked out for the best. He declined an on-camera interview, but his co-pilot, Ryan Holt of Woodruff, said the two knew shortly into their Friday night flight something was wrong.
"The engine developed severe problems and was shaking and making terrible noises," he said. Peterson tried to turn the plane around and head back to the airport, but he knew they wouldn't make it.
That's when the two had to improvise.
"We found the best spot we could and that was Highway 70 West," Holt said. They were able to land the plane, despite numerous hazards, including power lines, trees and oncoming traffic.
"To clear those power lines that transverse that road during the day would have been a chore in and of itself," Aviation Consultant Randy Africano said.
Not to mention, Holt and Peterson weren't alone in the plane. Holt's two young daughters were also onboard. He told Newsline 9 his training kicked in, keeping him calm during the landing.
"We call them engine out landings and we practice them all the time," he said.
"That's the last thing you expect to see," Rick Pozorski of Stevens Point said. He saw the plane on the highway after it landed. He and his wife were in Minocqua camping for the weekend, and couldn't believe their eyes.
"It was unbelievable," he said.
Peterson said he plans to replace the engine and fly again once the FAA finishes its investigation.
Holt said he's glad everyone is safe. "Assuming you make a decent decision to keep the airplane under control you should be able to walk away."
Minocqua police hope to release more information about the incident in the coming days.
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