The small aircraft, said to be Piper PA-30, belonging to NRI Sam Verma, was on a regular sortie when it was caught in strong winds and forced to land on a four-lane highway, about 180 KM from state capital Bhopal. Dramatic TV videos showed the aircraft's descent amidst wooded surroundings and electric poles as traffic was brought to a halt for safe landing.
The plane, with insignia VT-EUC, landed safely and pulled up yards away from rows of trucks parked on the roadside. According to local authorities, the pilot had initially sought permission to land near the Sapna dam, which was denied for security reasons.
The pilot, who was on board alone, was unharmed. Betul Collector Rajesh Prasad Mishra said the Department of Civil Aviation and Air Traffic Control would be asked to explain who had given permission for landing after which the next course of action would be decided.
Meanwhile, sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Mumbai, said they have not yet received the Flight Safety Report of the aircraft to be able to understand the reason for the emergency landing. "We have received this information from the media and have not yet been contacted by the owner. We are also yet to get the FSR. We tried to call up the businessman owner but he is not responding," a DGCA official told PTI in Mumbai.
He said the district police should register a case and submit the Flight Safety Report to the civil aviation safety regulator.