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POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – It’s just another day at the beach until a plane used a patch of sand as a landing strip.
“Things happen in aviation, as you can see,” said Christian McDaniel, an airplane mechanic and friend of the pilot who made the emergency landing.
Residents and tourists flocked to the plane to snap photos, take selfless and capture the moment.
Officials said the pilot of a single engine Piper J-5 Cub aircraft experienced mechanical issues on a local sightseeing trip and landed the plane safely on the beach.
The pilot wasn’t hurt and fortunately the portion of the beach where the plane landed was isolated at the time. No one on the ground got hurt, either.
“Thank God he’s not hurt,” said Caroline Donnelly. “It’s a miracle.”
Donnelly watched the plane circle the beach.
“He kept getting lower and lower and you couldn’t hear any engine at all,” she said.
The pilot told his story to the Federal Aviation Administration which is investigating what happened and the pilot’s actions had people talking.
“Very movie-esque,” said Myke Mast.
“I think he did an amazing job,” said Stephanie Buquo, who brought her two sons to see the plane. “Luckily at this time of the year there’s not too many people out here on the beach.”
Everyone else talked about his quick-thinking but not the pilot.
“No comment,” he said.
McDaniel said the plane is not damaged and that the pilot’s skillful landing is a result of his extensive training and years at the controls.
“He’s a great pilot,” said McDaniel. “Looking at the airplane landing on sand, if he wasn’t a good pilot it’d be upside down and there’d probably be an ambulance dragging him off.”
By nightfall, Broward Sheriff’s deputies helped tow the plane to a nearby parking lot – the next step in its journey back to an airport.
CBS4 was told that on Friday workers will remove the fuel from the plane as well as the plane’s wings then it will get towed to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to be worked on.
CBS4 looked up the records on that plane and it has been flying since 1956.