A Fairbanks man and his son were out of harms way soon after their plane crashed in Soldotna Saturday afternoon.
According to Soldotna Police Department Patrol Officer John Gregory, former Soldotna resident Dr. James Borden, 63, of Fairbanks, and his 14-year-old son were flying in a Cessna 172 aircraft. The plane experienced engine failure over Soldotna at about 1 p.m. and had to make an emergency landing, but missed the Soldotna airport runway by about 100 yards. Central Emergency Services and Soldotna police responded to the scene.
Larry Nauta and his wife witnessed the event.
Nauta and his wife had just taken off from the Soldotna airstrip when the other plane entered the area. They heard Borden radio that he was coming in for a routine landing.
"Right after that he called and said his engine was out," Nauta said.
The Nautas changed course to follow the disabled plane so they could pinpoint its location in case of emergency. Larry Nauta and another pilot, whom he described as a member of the Civil Air Patrol on the ground, monitored the radio and coached Borden during his descent.
"I called the Kenai tower and told them we needed emergency equipment," Nauta said.
The small red and black plane flew toward the airstrip from the north, clearing a line of trees and the fence at the airport perimeter. It banked to the west and approached the tarmac.
The airstrip nearest the plane was blocked by buses and picnickers taking part in the annual school bus rodeo.
The plane touched down in a meadow short of the runway.
"He hit pretty much nose down," Nauta said. "He hit hard. When it hit, it really somersaulted."
The plane's nose wheel sunk into the soft ground, leaving a furrow about a yard long and a foot deep before the plane flipped over. Both the pilot and the teen were able to get out of the plane without assistance. The teen was reported to have minor cuts and scrapes while Borden was transported by CES to Central Peninsula General Hospital to treat facial bone injuries.
The aircraft was totaled in the accident. Both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administra-tion were notified of the accident.
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