Small plane makes emergency landing on I-295 in Cumberland

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CUMBERLAND — A small plane made an emergency landing in the southbound lanes of Interstate 295 on Thursday evening.

The single-engine plane landed about 5 p.m., Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said in a news release. He said that the plane might have experienced engine trouble.

The plane landed in Cumberland and then taxied along the road for a time before the pilot parked the Cessna 152 along the passing lane and median in Falmouth, McCausland said.

The pilot was Sachin Hejeji of Falmouth, who was headed from Waterville to the Portland Jetport, McCausland said. Hejeji was not injured and no vehicles were struck as the plane landed during rush hour traffic.

Maine State Police Trooper Justin Cooley, who was at the scene Thursday night, said that the Cessna was flying at about 2,000 feet when Hejeji lost power to the engine.

“He tried to get power back to the engine and was unable to do so, and at that point his only option was to put down on the interstate. He landed at about mile 13 southbound in Cumberland,” Cooley said. “He came to a final rest on the median at 13 southbound.”

“At this time of day, with commuter traffic going southbound and northbound … it’s unbelievable (nobody got hurt),” he said.

A representative from the National Travel Safety Board, the federal agency in charge of probing civil aviation accidents, was scheduled to begin investigating the incident Thursday night.

Meanwhile, the Maine Department of Transportation reported that the southbound lanes of I-295 were shut down at Mile 13. Motorists were encouraged to seek alternate routes until the lanes were reopened shortly after 9 p.m.

Police eventually shut down the southbound lanes and removed the plane on a flatbed truck. The Cessna was taken to a Maine Department of Transportation lot at Exit 15.

Officers on the scene said the plane was a rental owned by Maine Aviation.

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This small airplane landed on Interstate 295 in Falmouth after experiencing engine troubles on the way from Waterville to the Portland International Jetport, police said Thursday night.