CUMBERLAND, Maine — Maine State Police were at the scene of an emergency plane 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 is Sachin Hejaji of Falmouth, who was headed from Waterville to the Portland Jetport, McCausland said. Hejaji 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 Hejaji 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 at the scene had said that the tentative plan to remove the plane would be to move it onto a flatbed truck, shut down the southbound lane at Exit 15, and truck the Cessna north in the southbound lane to a Maine Department of Transportation lot at Exit 15.

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


Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.