Airplane crash-lands at Anchorage Football Stadium

Posted: Friday, August 01, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A small airplane with four people aboard crash-landed Thursday night at Anchorage Football Stadium between two playing fields, one hosting a baseball game and the other a soccer game.

The pilot and two passengers aboard the single-engine Cessna 207 Skywagon, operated by Spernak Airways, were treated at the scene and taken to hospitals. The fourth person in the plane, Seth Siver of Wasilla, walked away.

Siver said two of the others aboard were brothers from Colorado. No one on the ground was injured.

The wreck happened at 8:13 p.m. during the third inning of the baseball game between the Anchorage Bucs and the Fairbanks Goldpanners. About 500 people attended.

Siver said the engine first died while the plane was crossing Cook Inlet and the pilot coasted over the west end of Anchorage.

The aircraft went down on the running track between the baseball game in Mulcahy Stadium and a coed soccer game in the football stadium.

''Instead of crashing and killing, he hit the fence,'' said Donald S. Raney, a veteran pilot who was watching the baseball game.

''The minute it hit the fence the engine came right off,'' Raney told the Anchorage Daily News.

The plane came in low from the west and struck a fence at the north end of the track at the football stadium. It flipped once and then came to rest on its belly on grass just off the north end of the track.

As the plane flew over the Kosinski baseball fields to the west of Mulcahy, the crowd noticed the plane and started yelling at players on the field to get out of the way. The Bucs' outfielders scattered.

Raney said the plane's engine popped off when it hit the fence. The plane's tail was crumpled and the tip of its left wing snapped. The wheels were off.

The landing site was perhaps 75 feet from a parking lot crowded with cars and 100 feet from the left field bleachers in Mulcahy.

The duty officer at the Federal Aviation Administration's operation center said the plane was bound for Merrill Field. He did not know where the flight originated.

Siver, the passenger, said the 45-minute trip to Anchorage was uneventful until the engine died over Cook Inlet.

''We were coming across the Inlet and the engine died. He got it started and it died again,'' Siver said.

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