Labor Day revelers driving home on Route 50 in Prince George County, Md., found themselves stuck for hours on the freeway after a small airplane crashed near the busy road, injuring three people on board.
The single-engine plane took off from nearby Freeway Airport and was seen by drivers crashing into trees near the westbound shoulder at about 3:55 p.m. EST.
“(The plane) came across all the lanes,” Prince George's County Assistant Fire Chief Alicia Francis told NBC News.
The freeway was shut down in both directions to allow helicopters to land to pick up the victims, Francis added. All three passengers were still in the plane when first responders arrived. Drivers had attempted to help the passengers before EMT arrived, she added.
The two unidentified male passengers were in critical condition and were flown by helicopters to a Baltimore hospital. The third passenger was taken by ambulance to Prince George's Hospital Center in serious condition, Francis said.
Francis said the passengers had to be cut out of the plane.
No one the ground was injured, NBCWashington.com reported.
All lanes have since reopened, excluding the lane closest to the plane, which is still wedged at the base of the trees.
Francis said traffic was backed up for several miles in both directions. She added that Route 50 is a "main artery" for travelers going in and out of Washington, DC.
Freeway Airport offers flight training to would-be pilots, according to its website. A representative of the flight school would not comment on the crash.
It has not been determined who was piloting the plane, Francis said.
Maryland State Police are conducting an investigation.