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'No big deal': Pilot makes emergency landing on B.C. highway

The pilot was unharmed.

A B.C. pilot with more than four decades of experience safely landed his small plane on a highway after running into trouble while flying.

Police were notified at 9 a.m. on Tuesday that a small plane was parked on the side of Highway 6 near Salmo, B.C., in the West Kootenay.

The 1969 Lake Amphibian (LA-4) single-engine aircraft had been ‘pulled’ off to the side of the highway and the engine had notable damage.

Pilot James Reich has been flying for 45 years and told Glacier Media the landing went fine.

“It’s no big deal,” he says, noting this type of emergency is what pilots train for. “It’s a beautiful stretch of Highway 6. There was no issue.”

Reich says he experienced an engine problem and immediately knew he had to find a landing spot. He aimed to land in Ymir in the Selkirk Mountains.

“First time I had to land on a highway,” he says.

Police say Reich was near the plane when a B.C. Highway Patrol Officer arrived on scene and Reich told the officer that “the aircraft suffered a catastrophic engine failure.”

Jamie McGivern was driving on Highway 6 when he spotted the plane and quickly realized it was an emergency. 

“It was literally in someone's driveway,” says McGivern. “It looked like he had to land on the road and turn into the driveway.”

Thankfully, Reich was unharmed and was able to make the landing without damaging the rest of the aircraft.

“RCMP have notified Navigation Canada of the incident, which appears mechanical,” says Cpl. James Grandy.

The plane has since been towed from the location.


Plane lands right beside Highway 6 on Sept. 12, 2023. Jamie McGivern


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