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Update: Pilot Walks Away with Minor Injuries After Plane Crash

A plane made an emergency landing into a marsh after the pilot had trouble taking off from the San Rafael Airport.

A small plane registered to a Vallejo man made an emergency landing in a marsh this morning after its pilot apparently had engine problems while taking off from nearby San Rafael Airport, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.

The pilot, the lone occupant of the plane, crashed just after 11 a.m. after taking off from the airport located at 400 Smith Ranch Road, according to San Rafael Fire Chief Chris Gray.

The pilot walked away from the crash with only minor injuries, Gray said. The plane sustained minor damage.

San Rafael Battalion Chief Jeff Buscher said the man was evaluated at the crash site and decided to seek medical treatment on his own.

It appears the pilot maneuvered a controlled crash that landed the aircraft belly down into a marsh. The plane then hit a ditch and spun around, Buscher said.

According to the FAA, the aircraft was registered to Keith Sherman, a Vallejo resident, but authorities were not yet saying this afternoon whether he was the pilot on the plane.

The damaged plane was resting underneath PG&E wires near the airport as of 12:15 p.m., Buscher said.

Fire crews were monitoring any fuel that may be leaking from the craft, he said.

--Bay City News Service


Kevin Moore November 20, 2012 at 08:59 PM
What do pilots think of the proposed soccer facility? Non-issue, unlikely to be hit?
Nicole Ely (Editor) November 20, 2012 at 09:04 PM
I feel like this incident will be brought up in the City Council meeting in the next few weeks. We'll see if any of the pilots come out to that meeting. I believe they have in the past.
Kevin Moore November 20, 2012 at 09:11 PM
I have no doubt this incident will be brought up. It does seem like most crashes end up in the swampy area, not on the runway. There should be statistics backing up where most airplanes on crash while landing and taking off from similar runways and how far from the runway is considered safe. That information from a neutral source would be the most reliable.
Stephen Nestel November 21, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Why shouldn't this incident be brought up? We all know that accidents happen much more frequently with amateur pilots. Is it inconceivable that a pilot may land in a field of kids soccer match just off the runway? If the soccer field was built and such an accident occurred the tragic deaths would be on the head of the politicians and promoters that put private profit over public safety. National airport standards prohibit location of schools,auditoriums and high use areas to be located within 500 feet of an airport runway. Because this is a private facility, the developer is trying to exploit a loophole in the law. Get real. The soccer field next to the runway is a very bad idea.

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