Durban - A light aircraft made an emergency landing on the N2 highway near the Mtwalume offramp at the weekend after it ran out of fuel.
South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) confirmed the incident and said the aircraft departed from Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape on Saturday with two passengers on board.
SACAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said the Umkhomazi Airfield in KwaZulu-Natal was the intended point of landing.
“While en-route flying overhead N2 highway north, the aircraft experienced a fuel low signal in the cockpit instrument, indicating that the aircraft was flying with the emergency reserve tank,” he said.
Ledwaba said the pilot surveyed the surrounding area in preparation for a precautionary landing.
The pilot had knowledge of the area and the surrounding area obstacles, he said.
He said according to the pilot there was no other option but to try to land the aircraft safely on the N2 highway.
Ledwaba said the pilot noticed a suitable ground space, in a northerly direction towards Durban, between the two opposite traffic roads of the N2 highway and landed the aircraft on the centre island with no injuries.
He said the pilot was able to refuel the aircraft.
“The aircraft took off uneventfully and flew towards its intended destination,” said Ledwaba.
Videos circulated on Facebook on Saturday about the incident.
In the first video the aircraft is seen flying low above the highway before landing.
In the second video, four vans are parked alongside the aircraft as it prepared to take off after refuelling.
The aircraft slowly moved down the road against oncoming traffic on the fast lane, while motorists slowed down and moved onto the shoulder to make way for the aircraft.
Two vehicles are seen blocking the road to allow the aircraft to turnaround for take off.
With an adequate stretch of road cleared, the aircraft was able to take off successfully without incident.