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Pilot who makes Nocatee emergency landing speaks

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Updated: 6/10/2013 11:51 pm

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.-- Lelan Whitmire is lucky to be alive after he was forced to make an emergency landing in his plane on Sunday. He tells Action News his engine appeared to lose oil quickly after maintenance, then quit while he was 2,000 feet in the air.

"There was a loud bang, and a puff of smoke came out," he said.

Whitmire safely made the scary emergency landing in a remote Nocatee field.

He says he didn't have time to fear, he reverted back to his training.

"When you're up there, there's no place to stop you," he said. "You've got to land and you've got to do it quickly because there's not a lot of time."

Whitmire contacted the control tower then glided toward the ground.

"From 2000 feet, things look different than they do from 100 feet and you really don't know until you get really down close what you're going to find," he said.

Fortunately, Whitmire found safety. He knows things could have turned out much worse, but that won't deter him from getting back in his Cessna. Its body is still in mint condition, it's just in need of a new engine. He can't wait to get back in the air with one small hope.

"I hope I never have to use the experience I gained," he said.

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