Two people flying from Albuquerque to Willcox escaped injury after a forced landing near San Simon.

At about 12:10 p.m., Thursday, March 16, the Cochise County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) received report of a possible downed aircraft near Willcox, CCSO Spokeswoman Carol Capas said.

The Albuquerque Air Traffic Control Center told the Sheriff's Office that an RV/8 single propeller plane, with one occupant, left the airport earlier that morning en route to the Willcox airport, she said.

Albuquerque air traffic control was able to give the Sheriff's Office the plane's last known GPS coordinates, so deputies responded to the area along with the Willcox Department of Public Safety, Capas said.

The pilot had sent a text message to his son, saying that he was not injured and had crash landed in a pecan orchard.

When the pilot called Albuquerque Air Traffic Control, informing them of the engine failure, “they kept talking to him until he was close to the ground then lost radar and radio contact,” Capas said.

The pilot landed on Last Outpost Road, about 10 miles west of San Simon.

He and his wife, who was a passenger on the plane, were “OK, no injuries,” Capas said.

The couple's names were not released as of press time.

Louise Walden, with Walden Aviation in Willcox, said the plane is registered to Bill Anton of Satanta, Kan.

The plane is described as an “Anton-built experimental aircraft” on the website

As of press time, reports of the forced landing were not found on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) nor the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) websites.