Westchester Small Plane Pilot Makes Emergency Landing On Deegan

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The single-engine plane being moved off the Deegan Expressway after its emergency landing Saturday afternoon, in this photo released by the New York Fire Department. Photo Credit: FDNY
The downed plane on the Major Deegan Expressway Saturday afternoon. Photo Credit: FDNY
Another photo of the single-engine plane after it made an emergency landing. Photo Credit: FDNY

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- A small plane made an emergency landing on the northbound Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx Saturday afternoon.

The single-engine Piper PA28 Cherokee, which landed near East 233rd Street just south of the Westchester County border at around 3:20 p.m., was piloted by Michael Schwartz from the South Salem hamlet of Lewisboro and carried two other passengers, according to the FAA.

The pilot and two female passengers were en route back to Danbury Airport after they had enjoyed a loop around the Statue of Liberty, according to reports.

One of the female passengers sustained slight head injuries, according to reports. The plane, which came down near the junction of the Moshulu Parkway, sustained minor damage, according to the FAA. No fuel was spilled.

The passengers were reportedly the 50-year-old Schwartz, and women identified as Kristina Terrell and Monica Castillo, ages 43 and 20, according to a New York Post report.

The plane, which was built in 1966 according to reports, was forced to land because of engine complications, 1010 WINS reported.

In an ironic stroke of fortune, a Department of Transportation crew was coincidentally on the scene prior to the forced landing performing a pot-hole repair on the Deegan, according to the report in the New York Post, and supervisor Miguel Lopez said his crew quickly shut down traffic to prevent cars from being in the vicinity.

“The plane hit the ground," Lopez told the New York Post. "It came straight down. It hit the treetops.”

The forced landing led to the closure of that busy and often congested stretch of the Major Deegan in both directions until the southbound side reopened. After the plane was moved off the expressway in the early evening on Saturday, more than two hours after the incident, the northbound side reopened.

You can view video footage of the downed plane posted on YouTube by a motorist driving on the northbound side shortly after the forced landing occurred here.

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Comments (12)


Landing the plane on the highway was the easy part. Next challenge is explaining to his wife who the two women passengers were.


I mentioned no Pot-Holes in yesterdays report..D.O.T. had just finished patching some on-site..."OF FOR GODLY GOODNESS LUCK" a smooth strip provided..I live In Vero Bch.,FL where that "Piper" was built..Have lived in South Salem,NY...Pilots current home-town...& drank my face-long in Danbury, CT "Hunt Club Bar"..I must have met this "Schwartz" somewhere..


In the middle of " Hercules" a small plane landing in a Major Highway, tha also in New York City.Is it a joke? Where is FAA? What action they took so far to investigate. Who pay the expenses? Tax payers or the owners of the Plane? Why the law makers are not saying any thing about the incident? I also became a victim of the incident. The traffic was blocked for a while. Helicopters and police , fire engines were called. what a mess. For some it is a joke. If 1,000 of single planes are landing on the major highways the tax payers will broke. There is no doubt about is. In my opinion the press should focus on this subject and bring the truth to light.


Are you kidding me? This was an emergency landing, thankfully no one was killed. What did you expect the pilot to do. Sounds to me like he did whatever he possibly could to minimize potential injury to those on board and in the surrounding area. So you were inconvenienced by getting stuck in traffic at least you didn't get hurt. Also one situation doesn't mean we'll suddenly have many more of these occurring.


Easy there Tommy. I saw the Irish name and though you might have a sense of humor.


Oh come on, don't be so sensitive. It was a dumb comment!

That part of the Deegan runs through Van Cortlandt Park. The neighborhoods near the park (on both sides I think) are primarily Irish-American. It's not 1974 anymore.

Seriously, I served in an Aviation unit in the military. I know how terrifying it is to have a major problem when you're not near an airfield. I'm very glad the people came through it okay and were able to land without hitting anyone on the highway. Sounds like the pilot stayed calm, kept his focus and did a pretty good job!


Walk away from it there and there will be a few bolts left after locals pick it over.


At 233rd Street? Seriously? Who's going to steal it? The squirrels from Van Cortlandt Park? haha Yeah there's a big market for private plane parts in the NW Bronx, I forgot.

Will the State Police let them just leave the plane on the Thruway? You think? Tell 'em, "We'll be back for her when the weather warms up?" LOL


Who at 233rd? Boy, its clear you didn't go to school/live around there or hang at Van Cortlandt Park. But plane parts are too big to run off with under your arm.1970's or not..... Kidding aside - I thought the phrasing of the "South Salem hamlet of Lewisboro" a bit backwards. Should be the Lewisboro hamlet of South Salem. Or just good ole South Salem. Glad the pilot did the smart thing in landing on the Deegan but what a dumb trip on such an Arctic day. Are folks that bored up there? Yeesch.


I live near there now.


The squirrels can be quite the thieves left to themselves. I'm sure Rocket J. Squirrel had his eye on the prize. LOL!!!


As the pilots in my Army Aviation unit used to say, "Any landing you walk away from is a good landing!"

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