COLUMBIA, Mo. - The pilot of a plane declared an emergency when he flew into a wall of ice in Mid-Missouri Friday morning.
Ice began to build up on one wing of the plane and caused the pilot to begin losing control of the aircraft.
The pilot was originally in contact with Mizzou Approach in Springfield but was immediately put in contact with the tower at Columbia Regional Airport when the emergency was reported.
Columbia control tower employees cleared the airways and runway and the fire/crash rescue team was placed on standby.
The pilot was able to land the plane safely, as large chunks of ice fell from the aircraft, and scattered across the runway as the plane touched down.
Columbia Regional is the only airport in the area with a fully staffed fire/crash rescue component and airport employees said the airport serves as a safety net for emergency landings in mid-Missouri.
"It's a pretty important thing for an aircraft in distress, to give him that assurance that we do have rescue workers on station," Columbia Air Traffic Control Tower manager told ABC 17 News.
Airport officials said this is the second icing emergency landing at Columbia Regional Airport this year.
They also said these types of emergencies could have a very different outcome if the tower was not here.