Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing at Joshua Tree National Park

posted Mar 3, 2012, 10:31 PM by JTCA Contact

Twentynine Palms, CA – A single-engine Cessna 182 made an emergency landing yesterday afternoon inside Joshua Tree National Park. The aircraft was forced to land on the Pinto Basin Road, Park Rt.11, about 8 miles north of the Cottonwood Visitor Center, and approximately 30 miles southeast of Twentynine Palms. The aircraft, piloted by Richard Piccirilli of Sun City, Arizona, was on an intended flight from Pleasant Valley, Arizona to Hemet, California when a lack of fuel forced the pilot to land on the park road. Neither the pilot nor a female passenger were injured during the emergency landing, and no other vehicles were involved in the incident.

The emergency landing was reported to park rangers about 3:50 p.m. Park rangers, the California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Sheriffs deputies, and the Indio Fire Department responded to the site. The pilot stated that strong head winds led to higher than normal fuel consumption causing the plane to run low on fuel. The plane suffered minor damage to the wings from impacts to vegetation, and it was removed to the side of the road to clear the roadway for vehicle traffic. Federal Aviation Administration officials ordered that the plane not be flown out of the park.

After further consultation among park officials and the pilot, it was agreed to remove the plane by tow truck. The plane was successfully removed from the park by 10 p.m. yesterday evening and taken to Chiriaco Summit.