UPDATE: After shutdowns lasting more than eight hours, all lanes of I-75 reopened at approximately 7:40 p.m. Thursday.
CINCINNATI — Police said it's very fortunate the pilot of a small airplane was able to safely crash-land it on northbound Interstate 75 Thursday morning.
The pilot, a man in his 60s, was the only person on board, police said. He was not injured when he made an emergency landing near Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway just before noon. No one on the ground was hurt, either. But the highway was closed for eight hours until FAA investigators allowed the plane to be lifted onto a flatbed and carted away.
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Lt. Steve Saunders said the plane, a single-engine Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, probably had engine trouble and started to come down unexpectedly. The pilot was able to land without crashing into any drivers and come to a stop nose-first against a concrete barrier.
“I think we’re very fortunate that because of the stay-at-home order, the traffic volume on I-75 that would typically be very, very high was lower than normal especially during the height of the day, and that may have made the situation a little more advantageous for the pilot to bring the plane down on a major highway like I-75," Saunders said.
The plane was registered to Mel Aviation LLC of Indianapolis. The pilot's name has not been disclosed. It was not clear where the pilot took off or where he was headed.
Northbound I-75 finally reopened about 7:40 p.m.
The FAA is assisting police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.