NTSB: Emergency landing on 985 caused by contaminated fuel

An emergency landing on I-985 15 months ago was caused by “water contamination in the fuel system,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) final report on the incident.

An instructor and student pilot were aboard the single-engine Piper late in the afternoon of January 24, 2023, when they declared an emergency and began looking for a place to land. They chose the northbound lanes of the interstate near the Hall-Gwinnett County line. It happened in the middle of afternoon rush hour, closing the northbound lanes for several hours, and detouring traffic onto several Hall and Gwinnett surface roads and streets.

The report goes on to say the contaminated fuel, which the instructor said had not been noticed during a routine pre-flight inspection of the plane, resulted in “a total loss of engine power…”

EARLIER STORY. POST 1/24/2023: No one was injured Tuesday afternoon when a small plane made an emergency landing on I-985 just past the I-85 split.

This happened about 4:30.

There were two people on the plane, which according to the FAA database, is registered to Spalding Mill Aircraft LLC in Norcross. That’s based on a search of FAA records using the registration number on the craft.

It was not immediately known where the flight originated and where the plane was headed or what kind of emergency forced the plane down.

As you might expect, coming during afternoon rush hour, this had a major impact on not only I-85 and I-985 but many of the feeder roads that lead into those two interstates, such as Georgia 20, and parallel roads like Peachtree Industrial, McEver, and Atlanta Highway, as many motorists sought ways around the incident.

The plane was eventually towed from the scene by a huge wrecker.

(Photo courtesy Georgia Department of Transportation.)