Small plane lands on Maine Turnpike, takes off again

UPDATED 11:30 AM: LITCHFIELD — A warden service pilot used the Maine Turnpike for an emergency landing and to take off after refueling. 

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The Maine Turnpike Authority says the airplane landed in the northbound lanes in Litchfield shortly before 9 a.m. In addition to the pilot, a biologist was on board. No one was hurt.

After the plane was refueled, it took off from the area.

A game warden spokesman says pilot Dan Dufault had to land because the single-engine plane had "some sort of fuel problem." The plane was parked off the highway at an abandoned service area while officials assessed the aircraft.

Randy Greenleaf of Litchfield said he was at home near the Turnpike when he heard the plane's engine cut out. He then saw the plane glide to the highwayand heard it touch down on pavement. Greenleaf was able to make it to the highway to see it coast up the Turnpike behind a truck. 

After the plane was refueled at an old service area at mile marker 98, it taxied back onto the Turnpike about 11:15 a.m. and took off. State police blocked off northbound traffic for the takeoff.

A search of the Federal Aviation Administration database shows the plane is a military trainer version of the Cessna 172.

Scott Taylor/Sun Journal

The Maine State Warden Service plane waits for refueling at an old service area on the Maine Turnpike near Litchfield on Friday. The pilot landed on the highway after the plane ran out of fuel. No one was hurt.

UPDATED 10:27 A.M.: The Maine Turnpike Authority has reported that a small plane has made an emergency landing Friday morning on the Maine Turnpike in Litchfield. The plane landed in the northbound lanes near mile marker 95.

The Kennebec Journal is reporting the plane belongs to the Maine Warden Service and that no one is injured.

The report said it was due to an empty fuel tank. There were no near misses and the plane is now off the highway at the old Litchfield service plaza at mile 98.

Maine Department of Transportation

A Maine Warden Service plane made an emergency landing on the Maine Turnpike near mile marker 95 Friday morning. No one was injured.

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 's picture

He was probably a business owner ...

... coming to Maine to consider relocating here. He landed, took a look around at the political manure spread from Augusta, took off and escaped. Godspeed! You avoided a fate worse than bankruptcy.


Earlier story talks about the pilot looking embarrassed...anyone running low on fuel shouldn't be riding around in the sky...what is up with that??? I'm sure because of his job, he won't get in trouble for this, but I think anyone who uses the turnpike for a landing strip should be investigated...something isn't right here..glad that nobody driving on the ground got hurt...

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Great job of landing the

Great job of landing the plane safely. Glad to see everyone was safe and o.k. Now, the fun part:
How the hell does the Warden Service ever get themselves in a position to have an airplane run out of fuel? Short of a health emergency or an unknown leaky tank or fuel line, there is never a plausible reason for pilot or motorist to run out of gas.

AL PELLETIER's picture

Hey, give the guy a break!

He was probably too busy texting to notice the fuel gauge.

Dana Burgess's picture

What If

What if this had been a private citizen with their own plane? Do you think there would have been charges brought against them? The police tell you ignorance of the law is no excuse. How about not checking your plane for fuel?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

A private citizen in the same

A private citizen in the same circumstances would no doubt find himself in a yellow scat storm of legal problems.

Sharon Dudley's picture

Shouldn't your take off

Shouldn't your take off checklist include fuel? How embarrassing...LOL

Dana Burgess's picture


Can you imagine if there would have been a 20 car pile up because of it. I can hear them now, you should have had your cars under control people.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Any Gas

Yep, I filled up with tums before I got in....

Noel Foss's picture


There's nothing worse than running out of fuel on the highway.
Except maybe for running out of fuel OVER the highway...


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