Nicholas Baer was body boarding in Carlsbad on the Fourth of July when a plane towing a banner crash-landed on the beach and injured him. The twelve-year-old is now suing the pilot and the company that owns the Piper that struck him. The boy’s attorney argues that even though the Piper’s engine failed, the pilot shouldn’t have landed on the beach where someone could be injured. The pilot should have instead attempted to land in the water. Though the pilot might not have fared as well had he landed in the surf, there would certainly have been less chance of injuring beachgoers.
Seems that the boy’s attorney has a point. And this particular scenario – beachgoers being injured or even killed when a pilot attempts to put his plane down on the beach – is not entirely unheard of. It happened in Florida a year ago. The pilot in that case tried to land his Piper Cherokee, and in the process hit and killed a man and a daughter who were walking on the beach. And it happened in 2010 when a Lancair pilot landed on a beach in Hilton Head after his plane lost its propeller. In that case it was a lone jogger who was killed.
In each of the cases, the victims were innocents. The risk of being injured by an airplane was certainly the furthest thing from their mind.