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Plane with engine trouble makes emergency landing in riverbed near Hwy 166


Central Coast Investigators are working with federal agencies to follow up on an emergency plane landing Friday morning in southern San Luis Obispo County, near Highway 166.

"A portion of that highway was closed to allow the plane to land," said sheriff's spokesperson Tony Cipolla in an email to KCBX.  "The aircraft landed in a riverbed adjacent to highway 166 and flipped upside down."

There were two occupants on board the plane at the time of the landing, a male and female. Neither needed any medical attention, according to Cipolla.

The pilot was 76-year-old John Charles Butler of Phoenix, Ariz and the passenger was 67-year old Pamela Butler Zirion of San Luis Obispo.

Credit San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department
If you look closely, you can see the single engine place on its back amidst the plants in the center of this photo.

The single engine aircraft first reported problems to the control tower at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport around 10:30 a.m., about 30 minutes after taking off from that same airport, assistant manager Craig Piper told KCBX.

Cal Fire, the US Forest Service, CHP, Santa Barbara County and Santa Maria Fire all participated in the search for the missing aircraft.

Investigators are coordinating with the FAA and NTSB, according to the SLO County Sheriff's Department.