BOWDOINHAM, Maine — The pilot who made an emergency landing on I-295 in Bowdoinham is speaking about the split-second decision he made to bring his plane down.
John Gayley said once the engine failed, he had just seven seconds to land. Fortunately, he cleared the trees, and drivers on I-295 swerved to avoid him.
That’s when he brought the plane down on top of a guardrail.
Gayley walked away from the crash, but said he hit his head on the control panel, fracturing his facial bones including his nose.
His passenger, a relative, didn’t suffer any injuries.
The two were simply taking a leisurely flight to do some sightseeing.
Gayley said he flew over his Bowdoinham home to say “hi” to his wife, and then took a “buzz” over a private airfield owned by a friend.
He said he flew close to the ground to say “hello,” and then when he applied power to gain altitude, the engine stalled and he found himself right over the northbound lane of I-295, leaving him no choice but to find somewhere to land in between the trees and all the cars.
Gayley still doesn’t know what caused the engine failure; the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
He intends to be back in the air just as soon as he recovers from his injuries.