Plane lands on Minnesota interstate

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Saturday, July 2, 2016
Brett Hoffland/KSTP-TV

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Authorities say they're investigating why a small plane landed on a busy interstate north of Minnesota's Twin Cities.

The single-engine SportCruiser plane landed in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35 near Wyoming shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, clipping a light pole before touching down, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. Wyoming is a city of about 8,000 people 40 miles northeast of St. Paul.

Authorities were forced to temporarily close both sides of the interstate, which was busy with Fourth of July weekend traffic. Some fuel leaked onto the road before the aircraft was removed around midnight.

The state patrol said the 79-year-old pilot, Leonard Nolden, suffered minor injuries. Nolden was the only person aboard the plane, state patrol spokesman Troy Christianson said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Saturday. No one else was hurt.

The state patrol said in a statement Saturday that the plane was running low on fuel and Nolden couldn't locate the Cambridge Municipal Airport in the dark, forcing him to attempt an emergency landing.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman didn't immediately respond to voicemail and email messages from The Associated Press on Saturday.

FAA records show the plane was registered in 2007 to Nolden, who lives in Isanti, Minnesota. Nolden declined to comment when The AP reached him by phone Saturday other than to say he wasn't injured at all.