MODESTO (CBS SF) — The Santa Cruz man who made an emergency landing on Highway 99 Friday night before his small plane burst into flames has apologized for the incident.

Fiery Emergency Landing on Highway 99 in Modesto

Modesto and Ceres fire crews responded to the scene of a single-engine aircraft that made an emergency landing on Highway 99 Friday night. (Modesto Fire Dept. Photo)

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The emergency landing on the southbound lanes of Highway 99 south of the Crows Landing happened just before 8 p.m. Friday evening, according to Modesto police.

The pilot, since identified as 59-year-old Santa Cruz resident Dirk Kanngiesser, was the only person on the plane at the time of the emergency landing. Kanngiesser was able to walk away from the incident with minor injuries.

READ MORE AT CBS SACRAMENTO: Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing, Catches Fire On Highway 99

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department said the plane caught fire and burned up after the emergency landing.

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The incident closed all southbound lanes for several hours.

Over the weekend, Kanngiesser posted a message on Facebook apologizing for the scares and traffic problems the incident caused. The post was made to Modesto television station ABC10’s Facebook page.

He said that his plane lost engine power and he was unable to reach the Modesto Airport, forcing him to land on the highway. He noted “we pilots in these situation focus on not hurting anyone else. This was accomplished. I am so glad that no one got hurt on 99.”

“Sorry to all of you who got caught in the freeway backup,” Kanngiesser wrote before signing off, “Keep safe The Pilot.”

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