WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - In what one police chief is calling a strange event, officials are investigating a crashed plane at Purdue University Airport. The pilot left after crashing, then returned to the scene Wednesday morning.
Purdue Police Department Chief John Cox confirmed to WLFI-TV that a plane crashed into a fence. He says there was minor damage to the plane and fence.
Purdue spokesman Brian Zink says a single-engine Cessna 182 developed engine problems and had to land at the airport.
Right before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, WLFI-TV spoke with a man working on the new U.S. 231 project in West Lafayette. The crew member told us he saw what looked like a plane crash at the Purdue Airport.
Chief Cox says the crash landing happened sometime after 9 Tuesday night. The Purdue Airport director called police around 8:30 Wednesday morning to report the crash.
Zink says the crash likely occurred between 3 and 4 a.m. Wednesday.
Cox says this particular runway closes at 9 p.m., so investigators believe the pilot of the plane was unfamiliar with the runway and landed the plane too close to the fence, crashing into it.
WLFI-TV spoke with the pilot, who wishes to go unnamed until the FAA gives him the all clear to be identified. The pilot says he left the airport after crashing because it was closed and he did not know what to do. He then returned to the airport Wednesday morning.
The pilot told us something like this had never happened to him before, so he did not immediately think to call the police.
Zink says the pilot contacted Purdue Airport authorities at 9 a.m. after going to a hotel for the remainder of the night after the crash.
The pilot was uninjured in the landing.
Cox said the plane is registered to a company based out of San Diego.
Cox says the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is conducting its investigation into the crash. The FAA says there will most likely be no criminal investigation.
Zink says once the FAA on-site investigation is finished, the plane will be towed to Lafayette Aviation for inspection. Then, once it's cleared, the pilot intends to complete his flight to San Diego.
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