An afternoon flight took a turn for the worse on Friday when an airplane made an emergency landing in Santa Maria.
On Jan. 24 at about 4:50 p.m., the Santa Barbara County Fire Dept., medical response teams and the Sheriff’s Dept. all responded to the field where the aircraft went down.
County Fire Dept. Capt. Charlie Johnson said neither of the two passengers aboard the plane was injured. The aircraft — a 1986 two passenger, single engine experimental aircraft called a Wanderer — left Santa Rosa en route to Torrance.
Johnson said the pilot of the plane, 78-year-old Lawrence Lan, and his 76-year-old wife Sharin were flying past Santa Maria when the engine started running rough. Lan turned around to attempt to land the plane at the Santa Maria airport when the aircraft’s propellers quit turning and they were forced to land in a field located at Union Valley and Red Cress.
The couple exited the plane and waited for authorities. Airport mechanics dismantled the aircraft and put it on a trailer to take back to Palos Verdes, where the couple resides. The Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating the hard landing.