ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) - A small Cessna airplane made an emergency landing in Orange Beach on Independence Day, but upon impact, the plane flipped upside down into the water.
You can see the landing, recorded by Jim Paar, by clicking on the video player to the left.
Walker Island is only accessible by boat, and as visitors approached the small sliver of land Monday afternoon, all eyes were staring in disbelief at a small airplane that was resting upside down in the shallow water.
This is a banner airplane that normally carries advertisements for beach goers.
The Alabama Marine police said at around 2:40 p.m., the plane experienced engine trouble while witnesses watched from below.
Witness Maegan Freeman said, "The plane started sputtering and making lots of noise, and we saw it make a turn, and it kind of just went in."
"It busted a wheel when it landed, and then it cartwheeled," said Frank Meade, another witness to the crash.
As the plane came in for an emergency landing, part of the landing gear broke off, causing the plane to flip upside down into the water. Meade said the pilot and passenger acted as if nothing happened.
"They were all composed. You wouldn't have even known something was wrong," said Meade.
Marine police said the pilot expected to flip upside down, and he steered the plane toward shallow water so they wouldn't drown.
One pilot who looked at the crashed plane on the water said the plane's design caused it to flip upside down.
"Usually a plane like that, with the wheels not retractive, it's gonna cause it to flip over forward," said pilot Poncho James.
Orange Beach officials said the two men were later treated for minor injuries.
Officials from Towboat U.S. said they were going to remove the plane from the water.
The aircraft is registered with Gulf Coast Aerial Advertising in Summerdale. The plane was built in 1978.
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