Firefighting plane forced to land on road


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An air tanker fighting a wildfire near Niton Junction was forced to make an emergency landing on Highway 16 Saturday night.
The plane landed on the eastbound lane of the highway at around 9:30 p.m., said Geoffrey Driscoll, wildfire information officer for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.
The pilot walked away from the plane with no injuries, said Driscoll. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada was notified of the incident, and the aircraft company Conair is investigating. The plane's engine lost power, but the cause hasn't yet been determined, said Rick Pedersen, vice-president of Conair.
The plane was pulled off the highway at about 2 a.m. The fire started at around 7:30 p.m. and consumed 37.5 hectares of land, Driscoll said. As of 5:30 p.m. Sunday, the blaze was listed as under control. No buildings were damaged. "We don't have a cause for the wildfire yet," said Driscoll. "It's not lightning season, so it's most likely human-cause."
Niton Junction is about 150 kilometres west of Edmonton.