Pilot: ‘I did the best I could’ in emergency highway landing

South County

EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) — Two days after miraculously landing safely along I-95, the pilot tells Eyewitness News he is thankful no one was hurt.

Rafael Campos said he had taken off from T.F. Green International Airport Saturday evening and was on his way back to his home in New York with his sister when he knew something wasn’t right.

“The propeller started shaking and I heard a noise and the engine stopped,” he recalled. “Then I noticed smoke and called for an emergency mayday.”

Campos, 60, has been a pilot for eight years. He said since he was losing altitude quickly, he knew he wouldn’t make it to the airport five miles away in Richmond.

He said landing along the highway was his only option.

“Traffic was slower going to New York than going to Providence, so I picked the north lanes to land, and it’s scary. At night time, you need to see the cars’ lights,” Campos said.

“I did the best I could,” he added. “I held the plane a little bit above the rooftop of the cars, so they could see me and start slowing down, and they did. We didn’t hit anything, any cars, and they didn’t hit us.”

It was the best-case scenario: No one was injured and nothing was damaged.

Campos attributes his successful emergency landing to his continued training, adding that he still flies with an instructor every week. He hopes to be back in the air soon.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said they’re no longer investigating the incident.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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