Easton Gilbert SeaRey plane, Richard Bach, N346PE: Accident occurred August 31, 2012 in Friday Harbor, Washington

http://registry.faa.gov/N346PE 

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA385
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 31, 2012 in Friday Harbor, WA
Aircraft: EASTON SEAREY, registration: N346PE
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 31, 2012, about 1630 Pacific daylight time, an Easton SeaRey amphibian amateur-built airplane, N346PE, sustained substantial damage during impact with wires and terrain while landing near Friday Harbor, Washington. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight, which had originated from Eastsound, Washington, approximately 45 minutes before the accident. A flight plan had not been filed.

A witness stated the he observed the airplane on short final to a private grass airstrip when it struck power line wires. The aircraft nosed over and impacted terrain.

Author Richard Bach’s condition upgraded after plane crash

September 10, 2012

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Richard Bach, author of the 1970s bestseller “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” who was seriously injured when his small plane flipped during a landing, is improving and will soon be moved out of intensive care, a hospital spokeswoman said on Monday.

Doctors at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center were upgrading Bach’s condition to satisfactory from serious, spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. “He’s improving.”

Bach, 76, clipped power lines with the landing gear of his 2008 Easton Gilbert Searey on August 31 while trying to land on a grass airstrip on San Juan Island in northwestern Washington state.

A group of young tourists found Bach, suspended upside down and strapped to his harness in the heavily damaged single-engine plane, and cut him loose from the wreckage.

Bach is now able to enjoy chocolate milk and respond to verbal commands such as “cough” and “give a thumbs up.” He was expected to be moved out of intensive care late on Monday, son James Bach told Reuters.

“He can say some words, but it’s hard for him. so he mostly sticks to ‘yes’ or ‘no’,  the son said.

“We still can’t tell if he understands that he is in the hospital and why he is there. But he asked for chocolate milk today – so at least his love of chocolate milk is intact,” said the younger Bach, 46.

“We think it’s going to be a long slow recovery. We’re taking it one day at a time. We’re optimistic.”

The author’s injuries included a head blow that caused internal bleeding, bruised ribs, a bruised shoulder that doctors initially thought was broken and a right eye that remains shut, his son said.

“Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” the story of a seagull expelled from his clan after he pushes himself to become an extraordinary flyer, was published in 1970. It topped the New York Times best-sellers list two years later and was made into a movie in 1973.

Richard Bach is in serious condition in Harborview Medical Center after a plane crash on San Juan Island Friday, August 31, 2012. The author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, snagged power lines with the landing gear of his 2008 Easton Gilbert Searey plane as he attempted to land at a grassy air strip off of San Juan Valley Road.

Two power poles snapped in half, dropping live electric lines on the roadway. The plane landed upside down in the grass with the seriously injured 76-year-old Eastsound resident stuck hanging upside down in his harness in the heavily damaged plane.

The downed power lines sparked a fire a quarter of a mile away.

A group of young Seattle residents on San Juan Island for a mini-camping vacation, cut Bach free from the harness. The group had just turned around on the narrow county road because they were lost.

“There were live electric cables on the road,” said Lucy Williams. “He was dangling. Just hanging forward from his shoulders. He was bleeding. He had this dent in his head. He was about 65. The guys (in her group) didn’t have a knife. We used the tiny knife on my keychain to cut him loose. We got a jacket from some random person and put it on his head (to stop the bleeding).”

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 346PE        Make/Model: EXP       Description: EXP- SEAREY
  Date: 08/31/2012     Time: 2330

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Minor     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

LOCATION
  City: FRIDAY HARBOR   State: WA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT ON APPROACH, STRUCK POWERLINES AND CRASHED, 3 MILES FROM FRIDAY 
  HARBOR, WA

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   1     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Approach      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SEATTLE, WA  (NM01)                   Entry date: 09/04/2012

In this Friday, Aug. 31, 2012 photo provided by the San Juan Islander, authorities examine a plane, piloted by author Richard Bach, that crashed in a field in Friday Harbor, Wash. Bach, the author of the 1970s best-selling novella “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” among other spiritually oriented writings often rooted in themes of flight, was in serious condition Saturday at Harborview Medical Center. (AP Photo/San Juan Islander, Matt Pranger) MANDATORY CREDIT

 

In this Friday, Aug. 31, 2012 photo provided by the Journal of the San Juan Islands, the plane piloted by author Richard Bach lies overturned after crashing in a field, in Friday Harbor, Wash. Bach, the author of the 1970s best-selling novella “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” among other spiritually oriented writings often rooted in themes of flight, was in serious condition Saturday at Harborview Medical Center. (AP Photo/Journal of the San Juan Islands, Steve Wehrly) MANDATORY CREDIT

 

San Juan County Emergency Medical Services, Sheriff Deputies, and San Juan Island Fire Department firefighters arrived on scene. The seriously injured pilot was treated on scene by SJEMS and airlifted to HarborView Medical Center where he is in critical condition Friday night.

San Juan County Sheriff Rob Nou said the preliminary investigation indicates the pilot was attempting to land on a grass airstrip and caught overhead power lines with the landing gear as he neared the runway. The power lines broke at least two nearby poles, dropping live wires which sparked the fire about a quarter of a mile away.

Power was disrupted in the area, and will remain out for several hours as utility crews reset poles and repair the downed lines. San Juan Valley Road remained closed as of 6:30 p.m. Friday evening.

The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and FAA.  on scene and prepared to be medevacued to the mainland.

On his official website richardbach.com, Bach wrote on August 27, 2012 “…Puff and I’ve been flying just about every day.”

Story and photos:   http://www.sanjuanislander.com

Photo Gallery:   http://www.q13fox.com

Read more herehttp://www.katu.com

(Courtesy of sanjuanislander.com / September 1, 2012)
Story and photos: http://www.sanjuanislander.com

(Courtesy of sanjuanislander.com / September 1, 2012)
Story and photos: http://www.sanjuanislander.com

(Courtesy of sanjuanislander.com / September 1, 2012)
Story and photos: http://www.sanjuanislander.com