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A San Diego-based Cessna 182 small aircraft apparently experienced engine troubles and made an emergency landing at Purdue University Airport in West Lafayette, Indiana early Wednesday morning (May 15) when the airport was closed and the tower unmanned.

Sometime between 3 and 4 a.m., the plane touched down on the smaller of two runways at the airport, then rolled off the end of the runway and down an embankment before crashing into a chain-link fence. The unnamed pilot then made a call to the National Transportation Safety Board to report the incident, grabbed his belongings, and walked to a local hotel.

Local authorities had been on site for nearly an hour Wednesday morning, baffled by the appearance of the apparently pilotless aircraft, when the pilot returned to the site to assess the damage.

Suffering only minor dents in the front nose cone where the plane collided with the fence, the pilot planned to have the plane towed to a local aircraft mechanic to address any safety issues before continuing his flight home to San Diego.

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