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The Sky is Falling

Every summer small planes trail advertising banners behind them and parallel the beaches. The planes tilt slightly up. Their engines strain. The planes fly slower than you think is possible. It’s a wonder they don’t fall from the sky, let alone taking off in the first place.

I was in Lowes when I got a call from my brother-in-law. “If you want to see something different this morning, drive by Intermediate East. A small plane landed in the athletic field.”

It turns out the plane was one of those that drag the ad banners through the air. The pilot had engine problems, dropped the banner in the woods, and landed the plane without incident.

A couple hours later the Wife-Beast calls me outside. She had that this-is-serious look on her face. “It might be my imagination, but I heard what sounded like a struggling plane engine and someone yelling for help.”


“That way,” she pointed.

Being a nurse and knowing a bit about first aid, I always feel a sense of duty to help if someone might be in trouble. I launched myself through the woods and went through the emergency medical checklist in my head. Check airway. Stop bleeding. Immobilize the victim. Those kinds of thoughts.

I emerged at Route 37. The main highway that connects the Garden State Parkway to Seaside Heights—the beach, “the Shore.” A banner was hanging in the power lines. Traffic was stopped. People were trickling out of the stores that dot this part of Route 37. They were walking west. Like me. Toward a plane.

It landed in the middle of Route 37 on the busiest weekend of the year. It didn’t hit a car, nor a telephone pole, didn’t clip a line. One road sign was clipped and took out half a wing. The plane pivoted and landed in the front of an IHOP restaurant—just feet from the entrance.

No one was hurt.

A local photographer posted pictures of the aftermath. I was too busy thinking someone might need help; I didn’t think to grab my camera.

Here are the photographs: ####


Reid said:

"I didn't think to grab my camera"

Drop and give me twenty. No, fifty. No, seventy. As in "the new D-70 I should carry with me at all times."

Posted on Jul 02, 2006 01:16 PM

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