Dozens Watched Plane Make Emergency Parachute Landing In Fayetteville

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Many people and students from the University of Arkansas gathered on the hill at Fayetteville High School Tuesday (Nov. 3) to watch as crews surrounded the small plane that just parachuted out of the sky.

So Rouhnavas, a student at the University of Arkansas said he was in disbelief when he and his friends saw the plane crash. He immediately took out his phone to take a video.

"It sounded like something just fell," Rouhnavas said, "And we realized it was an engine burst and we looked up there was a plane that was free falling for a second and then popped a parachute."

Fayetteville police said the pilot was trying to reach Drake Field in Fayetteville to make an emergency landing but was too far and was forced to land on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard.

Kenneth Davenport was at the University of Arkansas to pick up his grandson when the plane came down. As a pilot himself, Davenport said the pilot of the plane was lucky he didn't land in the woods nearby.

"He's very lucky," he said. "And if he was trying to use that highway as a runway then that's the same thing I would've tried to do."

Davenport said he was going to fly into Northwest Arkansas that same morning, but the fog changed his mind.

"As a pilot, when you fly you're always thinking of where can you land if something goes wrong," he said.

And in a populated area like Fayetteville, that's not always easy.

"You've got to be at a good altitude for that parachute to work," Davenport said. "If you're at a low altitude that parachute won't do you any good so they were lucky that they didn't end up in the trees."

Davenport's grandson, Brett Bowen, said he was in class when he heard about the plane.

"It's an uneasy feeling for sure," Bowen said. "I've never really thought of a plane crashing into a building at school or anything, it's definitely not a good feeling."

The other feeling shared by the eyewitnesses who spoke with 5NEWS was relief that everyone on board and on the ground was safe.