Audio: Pilot Urgently Searches for Emergency Landing Site in New York City

ATC communications capture desperate moments after engine quits.

A Piper PA-28 pilot found himself in quite a bind over the weekend when his airplane lost power while flying over the Bronx in New York City. The pilot and two passengers had departed Connecticut’s Danbury Municipal Airport on Saturday to take in some aerial views of the Statue of Liberty and were returning to the airport when the engine trouble began.

The pilot made a mayday call at around 3:30 p.m., urgently pleading with air traffic control to provide him with information on where he could touch down. With less than 1,000 feet of altitude, the PA-28 pilot could not reach ATC’s recommendation of Van Cortlandt Park and instead landed on the Major Deegan Expressway near Exit 13.

According to witnesses, the airplane clipped some trees on the way down before landing on a closed section of the expressway and sliding for approximately 100 yards. The landing gear collapsed, but there was no fire and no one in the airplane or on the ground was seriously injured.

Listen to the audio in the video below or view NBC News' coverage here.

Get exclusive online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.

We welcome your comments on flyingmag.com. In order to maintain a respectful environment, we ask that all comments be on-topic, respectful and spam-free. All comments made here are public and may be republished by Flying.