Gwinnett County

Instructor and student on training flight when plane landed on Gwinnett interstate

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News is learning new information about a plane that made an emergency landing on a Gwinnett interstate during rush hour on Tuesday afternoon.

Channel 2′s Matt Johnson has learned that a flight instructor and student were on board a training flight when the instructor had to make an emergency landing on I-985 near Woodward Mill Road just after 4 p.m.

The plane took off from the Gwinnett County Airport, but an official determination about what led to the emergency landing has not been released.

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911 calls obtained by Channel 2 show witnesses describing what could have been a tragic situation.

“I’m a truck driver. My trailer got hit by a small aircraft,” one caller said.

Gwinnett County fire officials confirmed that the plane crashed into a semi-truck before landing on the interstate, leaving traffic shut down for hours.

“We just saw a plane that appeared to have crashed into a driving truck,” another caller said.

“He was literally eye level with me and hit the side of the, the back of a semi-truck,” a third caller told dispatchers.


Firefighters were on the scene less than 15 minutes later.

“It paints kind of this grim image in your head of what to expect, and when you get there and find out everyone safe, they got out safely, there’s no injuries, it really gives us a chance to kind of catch our breath and be thankful for the blessing,” Captain Ryan McGiboney said.

When first responders arrived and made sure everyone was safe, their top priority became making sure the plane wouldn’t catch fire on the crowded interstate. Hazmat teams removed 10 gallons of fuel from the plane.

The FAA has not made an official announcement about what led to the emergency landing.

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