Kelly survives plane crash during Alaskan hunting trip

Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2000

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly sustained minor cuts and scrapes when a two-seat plane he was in crashed into the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska during a hunting trip earlier this month.

''We lost total power of the plane and the pilot turned and said, 'Jim, brace yourself, we're going down,''' Kelly told Buffalo's WGRZ-TV on Wednesday. ''I had some choice words and pretty much saw everything flash in front of me.''

Both Kelly and the pilot made their way safely to shore. Kelly said he had a few cuts to his face and also had a nail ripped off his finger.

''I had to hurry and undo my seat belt and take off my helmet and knock out the windows, which the pilot did. I had to swim to shore, but thank God, I'm still here,'' said Kelly, who had just returned with his brother Pat from the two-week hunting trip he had won in a charity auction.

The crash happened May 20 in Cold Bay, about 650 miles southwest of Anchorage, on the tip of the Alaska peninsula.

Kelly said he had just killed a large brown bear when he and the pilot got into the plane to head for their base camp.

The plane had gone a couple of hundred feet into the air when it ran into problems, Kelly said. The pilot tried to skip the plane along the water only to have it go in nose first about 100 yards from shore.

According to Kelly, the plane's troubles were blamed on water mixing in with the fuel.

Neither the FAA or National Transportation Safety Board had any record of the crash.



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