KILGORE, Texas (KETK) – It was a normal afternoon at the Executive Inn Hotel in Kilgore until an unexpected ride pulled in.
“Hey is that a plane. I kind of did a one take and then kind of went back to my phone, and then as it kicked in. I said wait a minute, there’s a plane driving down the road,” says Jared Rich, an employee at the Executive Inn in Kilgore.
The plane was a 1994 M20E Mooney.
“It was interesting, to say the least for the first day,” says Rich.
Tuesday was his first day on the job, and one he will never forget.
“It was exciting, it was crazy, probably something that will never happen again, so we’ll see,” says Rich as he “knocks on wood” that this won’t happen again.
Tuesday’s landing wasn’t just a shock for Rich, the pilot, Charles Mayo, wasn’t expecting this either.
“The engine locked up, it started vibrating a lot and then it just quit,” explains Mayo.
After 32 years of flying, Mayo says emergencies sometimes just come with the flight. Not having time to think, he looked for a safe place to land.
“I looked at a couple of pastures, didn’t think I could make them, looked at this highway, decided this is where I have to go,” describes Mayo.
Taking flight is part of Mayo’s weekly routine, using the plane to take pictures of pipelines across the state, knowing every time he climbs inside there’s a risk.
“Anytime you go up in the air, but you run that risk when you’re on the highway too, something can happen,” says Mayo.
Thankfully, no one was hurt, as Mayo traveled from Jefferson, TX, making an unexpected pitstop in the City of Stars.
The plane will remain at the Executive Inn Hotel until law enforcement can safely move it to the Kilgore Airport.