KETCHUM, Okla. (AP) — Severe weather forced U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe to land an airplane at a small airport in Oklahoma, his spokeswoman said Sunday night.
Donelle Harder, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Republican, said Inhofe was out flying Sunday evening when the weather forced him to land in Ketchum, about 70 miles northeast of Tulsa. Much of the state was under a severe thunderstorm watch Sunday.
The 81-year-old senator, an avid pilot, "walked away and is now at home with his family celebrating" the July Fourth holiday, Harder said in a statement.
Inhofe was flying with another local pilot, each in separate planes, said Harder, who didn't respond to further questions about the incident.
FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the agency had received a report that a pilot veered into some brush to avoid a deer on the runway at Ketchum. The agency did not release the pilot's name but said the person was not injured. The FAA is investigating.
Inhofe has over 11,000 flight hours, according to a biography on his website. He has been a pilot for decades and is known for flying to campaign stops across the state.
In 2011, the senator ran afoul of the FAA when he landed a plane on a closed runway at a rural South Texas airport even though there was a giant yellow X and trucks on the runway. Workers on the ground scrambled to get out of the way.
Inhofe's son, Perry Inhofe, died in a small plane crash in November 2013.