A crashed Piper 22-135 single-engine airplane lies on the mud flats of Mariner Park Slough at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, after it crashed about 45 minutes earlier on takeoff near the Homer, Alaska, Airport. The pilot and only person on board suffered minor injuries. (PHoto by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A crashed Piper 22-135 single-engine airplane lies on the mud flats of Mariner Park Slough at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, after it crashed about 45 minutes earlier on takeoff near the Homer, Alaska, Airport. The pilot and only person on board suffered minor injuries. (PHoto by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Two plane crashes occur over weekend

No major injuries for pilots, passengers in two separate incidents

Two small aircraft crashed over the weekend in Homer in separate incidents, but neither event resulted in major injuries for the pilots or the passenger in one of the crashes.

The first incident happened on Friday night, right after Homer Volunteer Fire Department crews went to a boat fire at the Homer Harbor. Homer Police responded to the crash at the Homer Airport. There were no injuries in that crash.

The second crash occurred on Sunday afternoon when a PA-22-135 lost power on takeoff and the pilot had a hard landing in the Mariner Park Slough. The pilot in the second crash was taken to South Peninsula Hospital with minor injuries.

Lt. Ryan Browning said last Friday that police got a call at 9:18 p.m. about a small plane having crashed at the airport. It was reported to have crashed at 8:33 p.m.

Upon arrival, Browning said the pilot of the aircraft, a Piper PA-30 Twin Engine Comanche, reported having issues during landing, and that the plane had started to pull to the left. It then continued off the runway, Browning said.

The pilot, a 47-year-old Wasilla man, and his passenger, a 42-year-old Wasilla woman, escaped injury. On Tuesday, Browning said that because there were no injuries, and because firefighters were busy with the harbor boat fire, dispatchers did not request assistance from fire department medics.

The plane’s tail was broken off and Browning said it appeared one of the wings was also broken.

“More importantly, no one was hurt,” he said.

Alaska State Troopers responded to the airport along with the Homer Police Department, and Browning said the Homer Airport Manager took over once he arrived.

In the Sunday crash, the pilot, a 74-year-old man, had to land the Piper PA-22-135 when it lost power while heading west over the Homer Spit Road and the Mariner Park Slough. The pilot was the only person on board. Browning said a Good Samaritan responded first to the crash site and was able to get the pilot out of the plane safely.

Homer Police, the Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Kachemak Emergency Services firefighters and medics responded.

The single-engine Piper 22-135 hit the soft sand, spinning around, bending the propeller and collapsing the landing gear. The left wingtip also was damaged.

“It landed in a good spot, considering,” Browning said.

The plane landed in a slough near Mariner Park west of the Homer Spit Road that on extreme high tides can be filled with water and is a common bird watching site during the spring shorebird migration. The crash happened right before the low tide at 6:26 p.m. Sunday and the area near the crash was totally dry.

HVFD Fire Chief Mark Kirko said no fuel was spilled in the Sunday crash. Browning said he did not think any fuel was spilled in the Friday crash. Kirko said a firefighter shut off fuel valves in the crashed plane on Sunday.

Kirko said one passerby recorded the accident in a video.

“It gets close to the ground. All you can see is a dusty cloud and it comes to an end,” Kirko said.

Firefighters responded to the scene and brought the victim to the Mariner Park parking lot. A Maritime Helicopters helicopter hoisted the plane out of the slough and brought it to the airport on Monday.

National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating both crashes, said Terry Williams, an NTSB spokesperson based in Washington, D.C. He said a preliminary report with the basic facts of the incidents will be done within about 10 days, but that report will not have a finding of cause.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com and Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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