They say good seamanship means good preparation - but there are just some things a sailor can't prepare for! 'It was a really strange experience,' said the Skipper in a masterpiece of understatement. An aircraft had just hit the mast of Edward Allen's 37ft yacht Windseeker, as he sailed it south to the David Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida yesterday.
A local plastic surgeon and his nineteen year old companion were injured when their aircraft crash landed on the Peter O. Knight airport on the islands. After hitting the sailing boat, the aircraft hit the seawall and flipped, landing on grassy airport property, shy of the runway, according to local fire rescuers.
'The first thing I knew anything was wrong was when the rig started coming down,' Allen said. 'At 5 or 6 knots of boat speed, you can't do a lot of maneuvering.'
He said the plane struck the mast of the the 1984 built Windseeker about 10 feet down. No one aboard the boat was hurt, but the crash caused significant damage to the mast, the sail and other equipment.
Allen said he often sees planes fly overhead when passing the airport, but 'they're normally a couple hundred feet higher.' Allen said it appeared the plane's nose or wheels hit the seawall. 'It flipped upside-down and just slammed into the grass,' he said.
A crowd gathered as the two occupants of the aircraft crawled out of the wreckage, one with an injured hand, the other with a broken leg. 'They were very lucky,' observed one of the onlookers who came to their assistance.
Editor's note: I don't make these stories up...I just report them!