A small plane that circled for hours Saturday morning over Tupelo, Mississppi, and surrounding areas landed in a field in Ripley, Mississippi, the FAA said. A source told CNN the pilot, who police said threatened to crash the stolen plane into a Tupelo Walmart, is in custody.
“Thankful the situation has been resolved and that no one was injured,” Gov. Tate Reeves said in a tweet. “Thank you most of all to local, state, and federal law enforcement who managed this situation with extreme professionalism.”
Tupelo police were notified at 5 a.m. local time, when the pilot made contact with 911, issuing the threat, Tupelo Police said.
“With the mobility of an airplane of that type the danger zone is much larger than even Tupelo,” police said in a news release earlier Saturday morning.
The plane – a Beechcraft King Air 90, according to the FAA – was stolen, a source told CNN.
The pilot was the only person on board when the plane landed several miles northwest of Ripley Airport, the FAA said in a statement.
“The pilot departed from Tupelo Regional Airport in Tupelo, Miss., earlier this morning and circled the area,” the FAA said in a statement. The FAA says it is investigating the incident.
Roxanne Ward, 42, told CNN the plane landed behind the Gravestown Fire Department near her home about 10:20 a.m.
“He landed pretty hard,” she said.
Video she shared with CNN shows the small plane largely intact in a field with law enforcement surrounding the pilot.
Ward heard the plane coming and ran over to her father-in-law’s house to hide in the basement, she said. “That’s when we heard the thud.”
About 8:30 a.m. local time, the plane was north of Tupelo, police said in an earlier update.
The Tupelo Walmart store is “currently closed and evacuated,” Charles Crowson, director of the Walmart Press Office, told CNN earlier, while the plane was airborne.
“We’re working closely with local investigators and are referring questions to law enforcement,” he added.
The FBI field office in Jackson, Mississippi, was involved in the incident response, a spokesperson said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.