New York Pilot Makes Emergency Landing on Jekyll Beach

March 22, 2022

Mar. 22—Jekyll Islanders helped a man on his way Saturday after a fuel leak led to an emergency landing on the island's beach.

According to the Georgia State Patrol Trooper James Metts, one of the first responders on the scene, the pilot was forced to land due to engine trouble.

"He was having some mechanical difficulty and was having some engine issues. Turns out he had a fuel leak," Metts said.

A Jekyll Island resident, whom he could not identify, got some enough fuel to get the plane to the airport, at which he made repairs, refueled and was cleared to leave by the Federal Aviation Administration, Metts said.

The pilot was Jeffrey Sellers, from Locust Valley, New York. He had one passenger and was headed further south, planning to stop at Jekyll Island to gas up.

Unfortunately, the fuel leak led to an earlier stop than anticipated.

"He found a spot with no people and landed," Metts said.

No one was in any danger and no one, including Sellers and his passenger, were hurt.

"Definitely not something you see every day," Metts added.

He didn't recommend trying to repeat the feat. Landing on Jekyll's beach is normally illegal per federal law. The law does make exceptions in the case of an emergency, however.

The fuel pumps at the Jekyll airport are self-service pumps.

Staff at the Jekyll Island Airport were completely unaware of the impromptu visit until after the fact, alerted by social media.

One member of the personnel said Monday the strip is an "untowered area," and so the pilot didn't have to interact with the terminal at any point.


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