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Mon, Jul 03, 2006

Toms River Sees Not One, But TWO Emergency Landings Saturday

NJ Town's Highways Provide Safe Haven

What is it about Toms River, NJ and airplanes? Twice in one day this weekend, aircraft in trouble found safe haven in Toms River. In both cases, traffic was tied up for awhile, but the pilots made landings they were able to safely walk away from.

It began Saturday afternoon when Keith Mazzarella's banner-towing Citabria ran into trouble. He frantically searched below for a place to land... and saw a green light on Route 37. Skillfully flying between powerlines just 100-feet apart... he landed behind about 60-cars and pulled off into a yard in front of a restaurant.

"I (couldn't) see the cars coming behind me," said Mazzarella, a pilot for over 20 years, to the New Jersey Ledger. "I didn't want to land on anybody."

A short time before Mazzarrella made his landing, another banner-tow -- this one a Piper -- suffered mechanical problems and landed on a school soccer field just a few miles away. The pilot in that incident was okay as well.

The FAA is investigating both incidents.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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