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Authorities searching for cause of Coburn Creek crash landing

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were in Harrison County Monday to examine an airplane involved in an emergency landing Sunday evening, said Lt. Rodney Broadwater of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.

Pilot John Nicholson was seriously injured in the incident.

Nicholson, 51, of New Milton in Doddridge County, was listed in fair condition Monday night at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, according to a nursing supervisor.

Passenger Derek Bailey, 14, also of New Milton, was treated and released at United Hospital Center.

Nicholson was piloting his 1956 Piper Cub two-seater single engine plane, when he experienced engine trouble, Broadwater said.

"It's my understanding he had taken off from the Clarksburg airport and had flown into Doddridge County and then over Coburn Creek," Broadwater said. "He had just made a circle when his engine failed."

According to the preliminary report from the FAA, the crash was "due to engine failure."

"He was trying to get to a longer field, but couldn't because of power lines," Broadwater said. "He landed short of where he wanted to."

After the crash, the plane had visible damage, he said.

"The landing gear had collapsed and there was damage to the bottom of the airplane," Broadwater said.

The FAA had no other details available for release, said Jim Peters, spokesperson for the Eastern Region Operations Center in New York.

"We did the preliminary report and have notified the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), which is the normal procedure when there are serious injuries," Peters said.

The NTSB normally conducts their investigations by following up with written statements from witnesses and sending parts of the airplane away for laboratory testing, said Robert Pearce, NTSB regional director for the Northeast region.

"It's too early to tell how long it will take for a final report," Pearce said. "We'll continue to gather information and write a final factual report to submit to the board to determine the final cause."

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were in Harrison County Monday to examine an airplane involved in an emergency landing Sunday evening, said Lt. Rodney Broadwater of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.

Pilot John Nicholson was seriously injured in the incident.

Nicholson, 51, of New Milton in Doddridge County, was listed in fair condition Monday night at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, according to a nursing supervisor.

Passenger Derek Bailey, 14, also of New Milton, was treated and released at United Hospital Center.

Nicholson was piloting his 1956 Piper Cub two-seater single engine plane when he experienced engine trouble, Broadwater said.

"It's my understanding he had taken off from the Clarksburg airport and had flown into Doddridge County and then over Coburn Creek," Broadwater said. "He had just made a circle when his engine failed."

According to the preliminary report from the FAA, the crash was "due to engine failure."

"He was trying to get to a longer field, but couldn't because of power lines," Broadwater said. "He landed short of where he wanted to."

After the crash, the plane had visible damage, he said.

"The landing gear had collapsed and there was damage to the bottom of the airplane," Broadwater said.

The FAA had no other details available for release, said Jim Peters, spokesperson for the Eastern Region Operations Center in New York.

"We did the preliminary report and have notified the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), which is the normal procedure when there are serious injuries," he said.

The NTSB normally conducts its investigations by following up with written statements from witnesses and sending parts of the airplane away for laboratory testing, said Robert Pearce, NTSB regional director for the northeast region.

"It's too early to tell how long it will take for a final report," Pearce said. "We'll continue to gather information and write a final factual report to submit to the board to determine the final cause."

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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