Plane lands safely after pilot threatened to crash into Mississippi Walmart store

The police department in Tupelo, Mississippi evacuated the Walmart and a gas station in response. PHOTO: PHIL_LEWIS_/TWITTER

MISSISSIPPI - The pilot of a small plane who threatened to intentionally crash into a Walmart in Mississippi has landed in a field, local media reported on Saturday.

Earlier, the police department in Tupelo, Mississippi, said they had been talking directly to the pilot and had evacuated the Walmart and a gas station.

The Daily Journal, citing multiple sources, said the plane was down in Ashland, a sparsely populated part of Mississippi, and the pilot was still alive.

Officials said he had been detained, although he was not identified and no information was given as to his motive.

An image on social media from the Starkville Daily News showed a small plane in a field.

Some six hours earlier, the pilot had called a 911 emergency operator in Tupelo, “threatening to intentionally crash into Walmart on West Main,” according to a statement from the city’s police department.

The sprawling department store and a neighbouring gas station were evacuated, and people were warned to stay away.

The plane later appeared to leave the Tupelo area and fly to the north-west, according to the FlightAware tracking website.

Tupelo police initially warned people to stay away from the area around the Walmart store but cautioned that “with the mobility of an airplane of that type, the danger zone is much larger.”

The aircraft appeared to be a King Air utility plane built by Beechcraft, with seating for seven to 11 passengers. REUTERS, AFP

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