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Pilot Cites Training for Surviving Plane Crash

FOSTER TOWNSHIP -- A pilot is crediting his training for saving his life after his plane crashed Monday afternoon.

A single engine Cessna lay crumpled along Route 901 just outside Minersville in Schuylkill County after a crash landing around 2 p.m.

Pilot John Ruble says he and a passenger were flying from Allentown to Ohio when suddenly the engine failed.

“The engine just completely quit. It was an ignition problem," said Ruble. "We still had good fuel pressure, so I went through my emergency procedures, couldn't get the engine started so I declared an emergency with New York Center.”

Ruble says he could see the Zerby Airport from his plane and tried to put the plane down there but couldn't. When he saw Route 901 up ahead was clear of traffic, he aimed to land there.

“I looked for cars. There was no traffic, which is a good thing,” said Ruble. “We clipped the trees coming in on purpose just to slow us down and then I tried to get us on the road. I wish I had put it down and not scuffed up the plane, but that didn't happen.”

Amazingly, both Ruble and his passenger got out of the plane by themselves.

“From looking at the plane, it's amazing that they were able to get out of the plane with just minor injuries,” said Foster Township Police Chief James Nettles.

Heavy hauling equipment was brought out to tow the plane away.

The plane was then taken to the Zerby Airport where it's being held for federal transportation investigators.

Ruble credits his training for saving his and his passenger's lives.

“I learned to fly in the Rockies, so they teach us how to fly and crash in mountains and not kill yourself and the training works. I'm living proof,” said Ruble.

The manager of the Zerby Airport says investigators from the FAA and NTSB are expected to be at the airfield Tuesday to look over the plane.

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