The single-engine propeller plane landed around 3:20 pm (2020 GMT) in the Major Deegan Expressway’s northbound lane near 233rd Street, the New York City Fire Department said on its Twitter feed.
“Under control,” it added, noting that no cars were affected and that there was no fire or fuel spilled. Firefighters removed the plane’s fuel before moving it to avoid the risk of a blaze.
The passengers left the plane, a Piper PA-28-180, and were taken to St Barnabas Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, FDNY spokesman Khalid Baylor told AFP. One had a serious injury and the other two suffered minor injuries.
“The plane was forced to make an emergency landing due to some sort of engine trouble,” Baylor said.
“The plane then made a landing onto the highway and did not damage any vehicles, did not cause any injuries to any people on the ground. The FDNY safely offloaded the jet fuel and the plane was removed from the highway.”
He said Department of Transportation workers who happened to be on the scene doing some highway repair at the time noticed the plane coming in on landing and helped stop traffic with their rig.
Drivers experienced some major delays on the highway, which has three lanes on both sides. Reports said the plane had departed from Danbury, Connecticut for a tour around the Statue of Liberty.
The plane was a 1966 Piper PA-28-180, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.