Pilots Safe Following Emergency Landing In Arkansas River
By Dan Bewley and NewsOn6.com
TULSA, OK -- The pilots of a single engine airplane are safe following an emergency landing in the Arkansas River, south of the 71st Street Bridge.
The emergency landing happened shortly before 3:30 Saturday afternoon.
The FAA is investigating the situation. Several guys spent Sunday morning trying to dig the plane out of the river. Crews were eventually able to get the plane out of the river and onto a truck.
Firefighters said the pilots, Luke Galan and his flight instructor and friend, Homer Woolslayer, were trying to land at Jones Riverside Airport, but had engine failure.
"We were on base to final for the runway - which is when you're about to land - and we lost power," said Woolslayer.
Galan was behind the controls at the time, and Woolslayer said he told his co-pilot, "you're getting a little slow."
The only thing ahead was the Arkansas River.
"The river looked really good and wide in that situation, good place to have an airport," said Woolslayer.
The men say they train for such occasions, so Woolslayer took over the controls and aimed for the water.
"He took over the controls and we touched down on sand, but I knew we were going swimming," Galan said.
"We put it on some sand and then went off in the water. I just kept the nose high and I couldn't remember if Lucas had put the wheels back up for a water type landing or what. There wasn't much time to think about it," said Woolslayer.
The Tulsa Fire Department was at the scene and using an inflatable boat, rescued the two, who found safety on a sandbar.
When asked if he was scared, Woolslayer said no.
"Not really, we just went through the procedures and put it in the river," said Woolslayer.
The men are fine and said it's just more proof of the importance of training.
"We were completely ready for it, so we both acted how we should have and it ended up fine. It was an experience and glad we're alive," said Galan.
The plane rolled forward and stopped in about a foot and a half of water.