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Officials: No injuries after plane lands on Long Island highway

Suffolk County Police say a pilot made an emergency landing Thursday along Sunrise Highway in Eastport.
Suffolk County Police say a pilot made an emergency landing Thursday along Sunrise Highway in Eastport.
Photo courtesy of jesssmillli/Instagram (used with permission)

Federal aviation officials are investigating after a single-engine airplane made an emergency landing Thursday afternoon on the median of Sunrise Highway in eastern Long Island.

Suffolk County Police say the plane came down near exit 61 in Eastport around 1:30 p.m. Officials say there was one person onboard the plane at the time. No injuries were reported.

Police said the pilot, Frank Fierro, of Lake Ronkonkoma, had taken off from Sparado Airport in East Moriches and experienced “engine trouble” about a minute after taking flight. They said he “realized the plane would not make it back and decided to land on the median of Sunrise Highway.” Officials say there was no damage to the plane or the highway. The FAA was responding to the scene.

The FAA identified the aircraft as a Challenger XL65 “light sport aircraft.” The plane has since been taken to Sparado Airport in East Moriches. Fierro, who is the plane’s registered owner, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier this week, a New York City man was killed when his small aircraft crashed into the Long Island Sound near Mattituck – about 25 miles from Eastport. Authorities said the plane hit the water about eight miles north of the Mattituck Inlet just before 9 a.m. Monday. A Southold Town Police marine unit was the first emergency crew on the scene.

Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley identified the pilot as 41-year-old Zubair Khan. Officials said they believe the aircraft was “homemade.” It had been registered with federal authorities as “experimental.”

Southold Police Det. Sgt. John Sinning said officers found the plane floating in the Long Island Sound and removed Khan’s body from the aircraft. At a news briefing near the scene, he said it was not immediately clear what caused the plane to go down. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating that crash.

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