Chicago's Lake Shore Drive becomes emergency landing strip

  • Updated: September 22, 2013 - 9:35 PM
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“I thought the plane was going to break apart,” pilot John Pederson, left, 51, said afterward.

Photo: ASHLEY REZIN • Chicago Sun-Times via Associated Press,

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– Mechanical problems forced the pilot of a single-engine plane to make an emergency landing early Sunday — along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive.

John Pederson told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was flying over the lakefront about 6 a.m. when an elevator on his experimental plane broke, causing the aircraft to shake. “I thought the plane was going to break apart,” he said.

He landed in the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive near Grant Park, authorities said. “There’s always a risk. I always look for a place to land,” said Pederson, who’s been a pilot for five years.

Chicago police said no one was injured. Traffic on the iconic roadway along Lake Michigan was back to normal within a few hours, Chicago police spokesman Jose Estrada said.

Pederson, 51, of the Chicago suburb of Lombard, said two cars hit the plane’s left wing after he landed, but drove off. The plane was later pushed off the roadway into a grassy area.

Authorities said Pederson won’t be issued a citation. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said only one person was aboard and that the agency would investigate, which would take several weeks.

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