Small plane makes crash landing near Vicksburg airport - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Pilot who landed on roof of Vicksburg business identified

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VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong has identified the pilot who crash landed an airplane Friday on top of a Vicksburg business.

The pilot, John Michael Nassour, landed the experimental plane with a student inside. 

The student's name has not been released.

Nassour works for an aviation school in Vicksburg.

The crash landing wasn't even visible from the ground, but once officials got onto the roof of the building, they saw the extent of the damage; an experimental, ultra light two-person aircraft, in pieces.

"There was an aircraft that had crashed on top of Cooper Lighting," Armstrong said. "And of course, at that time, we had no idea the size of it or the number of passengers inside."  

Armstrong talked to the instructor after the landing. He said the man began experiencing some problems with the aircraft hundreds of feet in the air, while teaching a student how to fly.  

"He was about a half-mile to a mile away from the airport, from which this aircraft originated," Armstrong said. "He knew that (the airport) wasn't an option, and he knew that he could not land in the middle of Highway 61 this time of afternoon because the traffic was extremely heavy."  

The pilot instead picked a large, flat surface on which to land, and the Cooper Lighting building was the only thing he could find.  

Despite clipping the tops of trees on the way down, the instructor brought the plane down safely. Both inside walked away alive. It's a lesson both teacher and student will never forget.  

"When things like this happen, you want someone in the cockpit that can do the job that we witnessed this afternoon in the city of Vicksburg," Armstrong said.  

Sources say both are being kept overnight as a precaution at the hospital in Vicksburg.   Armstrong said the building didn't appear to sustain any major damage, even though the business was evacuated as a precaution.  

Over the course of the investigation, they also hope to learn what caused the malfunction that made the plane lose altitude.

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