What is the protocol for cleaning up plane crashes?

NOW: What is the protocol for cleaning up plane crashes?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Crews worked for hours Tuesday to remove a small plane from the side of US 20, where it crash-landed right outside the South Bend International Airport. ABC 57’s Jess Arnold walks you through how they got it done.

Trying to make a pit stop on his way from Kansas City to Minnesota, pilot Jim Postleweit's plane crash-landed right outside of the South Bend Airport a little after 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, after clipping a car on US 20.

He and his wife were fine, but the plane suffered a wrecked wing and bruised belly.

"In my career, I think this is only the third or fourth one we've had,” said South Bend Police Lt. Gene Eyster.

He said it would be "interesting" to see how crews would get the plane out of the ditch.

First, the US Truck and Trailer Service tried some soft ropes attached to booms on wenches. That didn’t work.

Lt. Eyster said the plane is so light and fragile, it’s like trying to move a crate of eggs, so the crews added more support to help delicately lift it out of the ditch.

After one and a half hours, the crew was able to lift the plane above the ground and move it to the airport.

The last hurdle was getting a 26 foot wide plane through a 20 foot wide entrance.

They couldn't go through it, so they had to lift it over the 12 foot tall fence.

Now that the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have it stowed away, they can investigate what caused this small plane to just barely miss the runway.

A representative from the FAA says the NTSB should be releasing more information in the next ten days.

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