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No injuries in plane crash at Traverse City park

Plane crash civic center
Max Copeland
Interlochen Public Radio
A plane made an emergency landing at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center.

A single engine plane made an emergency landing on a soccer field in Traverse City Tuesday at about 5:30 p.m.

No one was injured when the plane crashed into the wire fencing at a recreational field at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center.

A Northwestern Michigan College student and instructor were co-piloting a college-owned CESSNA 172S, which was manufactured in 2010, according to registration information.

Traverse City Police Captain Keith Gillis said the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating during a press briefing Wednesday morning at the Sgt. Dennis W. Finch Law Enforcement Center.

Gillis said so far the police don’t suspect any wrongdoing on the part of the pilots or the college.

He said police interviewed the student pilot and instructor.

“Just based on information that was given at the scene at the time, there was possible mechanical failure [that] was the reason for the emergency landing,” said Gillis.

He said the plane collided with a chain link fence.

“It appears that the fence actually stopped the plane,” Gillis said. “So it could’ve been worse, it could have went across that little roadway and into the trees, and you know the trees don’t move, the fence gave a little bit to slow the plane down.”

There is also a small parking lot and a pavilion across from where the plane landed.

A person at the scene of the crash who appeared to be investigating said the wings will be removed and the plane will be transported on a flatbed truck this afternoon.

Soccer games were canceled at nearby fields at the Civic Center Tuesday evening when police secured the scene.

Max Copeland is the local weekday host of All Things Considered on Interlochen Public Radio and the producer of The Up North Lowdown, IPR’s weekly news podcast (coming soon!). Max grew up in Traverse City and graduated from Central High School in 2014. He went on to study broadcast journalism at Michigan State University.