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No injuries in emergency plane landing
Volunteer firefighters with the Juda Fire Department wait for the next course of action after a twin-engine airplane made an emergency landing on County KS between Giese Road and Brunkow Road near Juda Monday evening. On landing, the airplane caught and pulled down power lines. The pilot was the only occupant of the aircraft and was able to walk away from the scene. (Times photos: Anthony Wahl)
By John Morton

JUDA - A small plane clipped power lines as it made an emergency landing on County KS at about 6 p.m. Monday, leaving Juda in a blackout for several hours.

The pilot, who was flying alone from Bollingbrook Clow International Airport in the Chicago metropolitan area to Minneapolis-St. Paul, was uninjured and was able to walk away from the accident. The Green County Sheriff's Department identified him as Alvin Thoreson, 33, of Fairmont, Minn.

Thoreson was flying the Beech 76 fixed-wing twin-engine model, which suffered front-end damage. Its registration number shows it is owned by Aviators Insurance Agency of Van Nuys, Calif.

The plane began losing power and the pilot sought a place to land, according to a sheriff's department news release. Thoreson was unable to stay aloft, and the left wing of the plane caught power lines along the side of the highway as he glided to the ground.

The stretch of road, which was closed between Giese and Brunkow roads, showed skid marks up until the plane came to a resting spot at a 90-degree angle off the road. It was tangled in power lines, having ripped through them between poles and bringing down four section's worth of wires, some of which were severed. No poles were down.

As of 10:30 p.m. Monday, power was still out to some houses in the area.

Cheri Johnson, a nearby resident, saw the plane going down. She ran through her house to track its descent from her windows and then ran outside to watch.

"I saw big blue sparks when it hit the electrical lines," she said.

Johnson said the plane was flying low when she first noticed it. "It was gliding, but at a downward angle," she said.

Johnson and her neighbors were left to scramble to start up generators.

"We were told we'd be out of power for three or four hours, but we still have cows to milk," she said.

Juda Fire Chief Steve Isely said he believed the road was vacant of cars when the plane made its emergency landing.

"The pilot was very lucky he wasn't injured and that no one else was injured," Isely said shortly after the accident. "Alliant Energy is on the scene and they'll have to restring all new wires. The whole village is without power."

Tom Moczynski, chief deputy with the Green County Sheriff's Department, said a call came in at 5:58 p.m. as the pilot reported engine trouble. A neighbor also reported the crash moments later.

"He was fortunate that he managed to put it down on the road," Moczynski said.

Green County EMS also responded to the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted and the incident remains under investigation.