Beachgoer describes plane’s emergency landing as ‘scary’
Posted: June 27, 2011 – 12:02am
Pilot Dan Holiday on a return trip from the Bahamas was forced to make an emergency landing on Cresent Beach after he ran out of gas while descending in preparation for a landing at the Northeast Florida Regional Airport. No one was injured in the incident around noon Sunday. The beach was crowded, yet the pilot was able to find a big enough opening to bring the plane in. Photo by ALAN ALSOBROOK, Special to The Record
A local man interrupted an otherwise calm Crescent Beach day as he crash-landed his single-engine plane just feet above the heads of beachgoers around noon Sunday.
Dan Holiday was flying the plane back from the Bahamas when he said he was forced to land on the beach just north of the Crescent Beach ramp because he ran out of gas.
An eyewitness said she and friends were caught by surprise. “All of us just jumped out of the way,” Haleigh Kate said in a recorded interview with Phillip Whitley, a freelance photographer whose photos appear frequently in The St. Augustine Record. “It was scary. It came really close — seven feet above us, maybe. The engine was completely off. It was completely silent.”
Whitley also recorded Holiday at the scene.
“The engine ran out of gas,” Holiday said. “I’m still trying to figure out why it ran out of gas.”
Holiday was not available for further comment Sunday evening.
Neither he nor his one passenger were hurt in the incident, according to St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Chuck Mulligan.
The Federal Aviation Authority website lists the 1973 Bellanca Model 17-30A plane that landed as registered to Holiday.
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen in Atlanta confirmed the landing and that there were no injuries or damage to the aircraft. She said FAA will investigate. The aircraft was removed from the beach and taken to Northeast Florida Regional Airport.
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