Plane Hits Car on U.S. 98 at Gulf Breeze

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A small airplane headed for Birmingham, Ala., made an unexpected landing on U.S. 98 near Gulf Breeze late Friday morning.

After touching down just east of The Zoo Northwest Florida, the plane, a single-engine Piper, struck a Jeep, which sustained minor damage.

There were no injuries to anyone in the plane or the Jeep.

The pilot, David Shelby, of Birmingham, was flying from Foley to Birmingham, Ala. Shelby said the plane's engine died and had the choice to fly to Pensacola or Navarre for a safe landing.

The Jeep is a rental and was being driven by Aaron Ott, of Gilsum, N.H. Ott's family is on vacation. Dana Ott, 12, Aaron Ott's 12-year-old son, was in the rear of the Jeep when the plane struck.

"I didn't see it," Dana said. "I thought we were hit by a car."

Aaron Ott lost control of the Jeep momentarily, but was able to stop it safely, the boy said.

The plane is now about 100 yards east of the intersection of Fuller Drive and Gulf Breeze Parkway. It is a single-engine private plane, with an estimated six-seat capacity. It is not known how many passengers were aboard.

One witness saw the plane touch down.

"It was a scary noise. I've only seen this on TV before," Bryan Tran, owner of a nearby gasoline station, said. "I saw the plane when it hit the ground. The pilot said he was trying to make it to the airport, but he couldn't make it."

The nearest airstrip is in Navarre, about eight miles east of the crash site.