Student pilot makes emergency landing in Payson field

PAYSON, Utah -- You know that nervous feeling you get when you're driving down the highway, the fuel light is on, and there isn't a gas station in sight? Well, imagine that same feeling, only in an airplane.

A student pilot had to make an emergency landing in Payson Friday after running out of gas.

"Plane crossed over the power lines probably 100 feet up," said witness Mark Dehart.

Dehart was riding his ATV behind the LDS Temple in Payson around 1 p.m. when he saw the single-engine airplane falling from the sky over his home.

"I noticed his prop wasn't spinning, knowing he was going to go down," Dehart said. "He was kind of heading straight for the house."

Dehart held his breath, hoping the pilot could avoid the crash.

"Lifted up the right wing so it wouldn't clip the gazebo, and then he lifted the left wing, struck the tree," Dehart said. "He took off about half a dozen branches about three-feet long."

The plane eventually came to a hard landing in the middle of a sod farm. The pilot walked away uninjured, while the plane hardly had a scratch on it.

"He was fairly calm but he just said, 'I did a stupid thing,'" Dehart said.

The stupid thing was not checking the fuel gauge before taking off.

"From what my understanding is, he was out of fuel so he thought he had enough fuel to get back to Spanish Fork where he took off from, but I guess he didn't estimate that very well," said Officer Noemi Sandoval of the Payson Police Department.

The pilot declined an interview. Dehart hopes he doesn't beat himself up too much. He said the pilot made the best of a bad situation and that this could have been deadly.

"He did an amazing job, he was in control of the aircraft, he did great," Dehart said. "I hope he continues flying."

A plane that made an emergency landing in Payson December 2, 2016. Image courtesy Payson Police Department.

A plane that made an emergency landing in Payson December 2, 2016. Image courtesy Payson Police Department.