3 injured after small plane makes emergency landing on I-355

National News

NEW LENOX, Ill. — Illinois State Police said a small plane made an emergency landing on the southbound lanes of the Veterans Memorial Tollway, injuring three people.

Dashcam video from a driver heading northbound on Interstate-355 captured the plane as it approached the ground, eventually coming to a stop near Route 6.

The plane, a 1975 White Beech B24R Fixed Wing Aircraft, was in the air for about five minutes after departing from Lewis University Airport before the landing was made around 11 a.m. Thursday, according to data from FlightAware.

Four people were onboard.

The pilot, identified as Jason M. Bufton, 39, of Wilmington, said he made the landing due to a stalled engine, according to Illinois State Police. Bufton, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, said the group was flying to get lunch in Indianapolis.

ISP identified the passengers as Kirstyn McKim, 21, Paige M. Bufton, 20, and a 15-year-old girl — all from Wilmington. Ambulances transported all three to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

Michelle McKim, Kirstyn’s mother, says she is thankful that no one was seriously injured.

“She definitely had someone looking over her,” McKim said. “All four of them did. They are all four lucky to be alive.”

Tom Sanford, Kirstyn McKim’s father, said Bufton is a longtime family friend. He thanked him for the safe emergency landing.

“He’s experienced,” Sanford said. “A good family friend. We’ve been around each other for a good 10 to 11 years since they moved here.”

Kirstyn’s parents said she suffered a broken back and will need to see a specialist, but they’re grateful she and everyone else are alive.

The plane did sustain some damage. The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted following the crash.

“Unreal,” Kirstyn McKim’s parents said. “I took a drive and seen the plane. It’s just a godsend that he could land that like he did. He definitely saved all their lives, that’s for sure.”

The left two lanes of southbound I-355 were shut down for nearly four hours. All lanes have since reopened.

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