Two Singaporean pilots flying a small private plane were forced into making an emergency landing on the North-South Expressway in Johor yesterday morning, after their plane experienced technical difficulties.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia said in a statement that both pilots were in stable condition.
Its chief executive, Captain Chester Voo, said one of the pilots requested a return landing to Senai International Airport in Kulai at 10.40am because of technical problems.
"The private aircraft operated by Premier Air Singapore was en route from Seletar Airport in Singapore to Melaka," he said, adding that it was a light aircraft type Beechcraft Model 35 Bonanza.
Captain Voo said the plane landed on a part of the highway near Sedenak in Kulai district.
"The two Singaporean pilots on board are reportedly in stable condition and the aircraft has been moved to a position that does not obstruct traffic on the highway."
He said the search-and-rescue team had completed all required tasks.
News outlet Utusan Malaysia, citing an unidentified source, said the pilots decided to make an emergency landing after they heard a small explosion from the plane's engine.
Several pictures and videos circulating online show the plane parked on a road shoulder on the expressway. Another video shows about a dozen men pushing the plane along the road to an unknown location.
A fireman at the scene told Utusan Malaysia that there was traffic congestion on the expressway after the plane landed.
An inspection of the plane found that it did not catch fire and the pilots did not have any injuries, the fireman added.
The Air Accident Investigation Bureau, under Malaysia's Ministry of Transport, will investigate the incident.
The Straits Times has contacted Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information about the pilots' status and how they will be brought back to Singapore.
Private planes are able to fly out of Singapore but will be subject to Covid-19 border restrictions in their destination countries.
A private pilot who declined to be named told The Straits Times it was not unusual for private jets to fly round trips from Seletar Airport to Melaka via Senai Airport before the pandemic.
But he added that there are currently restrictions on pilots taking passengers along.
The pilot also told ST that pilots are trained to select a suitable emergency landing spot to glide a plane to in case they lose control of the engine.
"The preference would be an empty field but the terrain there may not allow it... So the next best option is a road, preferably without much traffic," he said.
"But you need to be careful, as you come in, not to hit light posts or other obstructions as that can be disastrous."
S'porean pilots make emergency landing in Johor
A small private plane piloted by two Singaporeans made an emergency landing on the North-South Expressway in Johor yesterday morning, after encountering engine problems in the air. The plane was flying from Seletar Airport in Singapore towards Melaka in Malaysia when the incident happened. The two pilots were reportedly unhurt.