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Plane makes safe emergency landing at Red Wing Regional Airport

A plane unexpectedly landed at Red Wing Regional Airport after engine failure Friday. The three people on board, the pilot and two adult passengers, were safe.

To determine what caused the engine to malfunction, "you have to take it apart and see what's wrong with it," said Sam Blue, the chief operating officer at the airport. "Sometimes things break and you can't really attribute it to anything other than bad luck."

The Piper Malibu was flying at 16,000 feet when the engine stopped working. The pilot tried to restart the engine, only to have it stop working again.

"The air traffic controllers talked him down to this airport. It was probably 15 minutes from when the engine quit to when it landed," Blue said.

At 11:11 a.m. the Red Wing Fire Department received notice a plane would be landing at the airport with engine failure.

When the plane landed, its engine was not running. The Ellsworth Volunteer Fire department, Red Wing paramedic/firefighters and Pierce County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene shortly after the plane glided to the ground.

The pilot declined to comment and his name was not available at press time. Destination and point of origin weren't made available.

This the second time in four weeks there has been an emergency landing at the airport. On Feb. 15, a plane's landing gear failed.

Blue said pilots are trained how to act in emergency situations in case something like this happens.

"I think the hardest part is staying calm. If you do things right, it's a pretty similar landing, and you practice these also, so the hardest part is not panicking," Caleb Wilson said, a pilot who watched the scene unfold.

Wilson received his flying certificate last May and said the emergency response to the event reassured him.

"It's good to see them put out all the stops to make sure that this guy is OK and good to know that they'd probably do the same for me if I was in trouble as well," he said.

Blue said the last engine failure problem the airport had dealt with was 20 years ago.

"Emergency situations like this are back in my mind always, but usually not what I'm concerned about the most. They're pretty rare," Wilson said.