One Child Hurt In Apparent Prop Strike
A Piper Arrow crash-landed on a busy California interstate
during rush hour Tuesday, coming to rest and burning in the highway
median before emergency workers arrived. Although the pilot and his
teenaged son walked away from the incident, one girl was in serious
condition with severe injuries to her leg.
The girl was riding in a 2005 Dodge Caravan that was struck by
the Arrow, reportedly flown by 43-year old Curt Hatch.
"This was the only place I could see, was this damn highway,"
Hatch told the Contra-Costa times. He was obviously shaken after
the crash. "I think my prop hit (the girl in the minivan)."
Hatch said he and his son were returning to their home in
Colorado from Buchanan Field when the accident occurred. Hatch told
reporters he had partially lost power when trying to return home
Monday and a mechanic had been flown in to service the rental
aircraft. The pilot said that mechanic replaced a valve in one of
the engine's cylinders.
"I can't tell you anything until they investigate it," said
Larry Kempton, owner of Kempton Air in Grand Junction (CO), the
company that rented the 1979 Arrow to Hatch.
After the mechanic finished working on the aircraft, Hatch said
he headed for home around 5:00 pm PDT. Seconds after take-off, just
about 200 feet AGL, Hatch said the aircraft completely lost engine
power. So he headed for the highway. The emergency landing looked
dicey to Hatch.
"I had my son with me, so immediately, my thought was, 'I killed
my son,'" he said.
The Arrow set down in the southbound lanes of the crowded
highway, collide with the minivan, then bounced into the median.
Once it came to rest, it began to burn.
"I was screaming, 'Get the door open and get out,'" Hatch
Hatch, a software company owner in Grand Junction, said he
apologized to the Wisconsin family in the minivan, but didn't have
a chance to talk with the little girl. Eleven-year old Arianna
Jimmenez of Danville (CA) was flown by medical helicopter to
Children's Hospital in Oakland, where she's now listed in serious
condition. [On-site photos provided with the kind permission of
FAA Preliminary Accident Report
Make/Model: PA28 Description: PA-28
CHEROKEE, ARROW, WARRIOR, ACHER, D
Date: 04/13/2004 Time: 2350
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury:
Serious Mid Air: N
State: CA Country: US
ACFT ON DEPARTURE FORM RUNWAY 19L, LOST ENGINE POWER, HIT THE
TREES, CRASHED ONTO THE I-680 FREEWAY, AND STRUCK TWO CARS
SERIOUSLY INJURYING ONE PERSON IN ONE OF THE CARS, NO INJURIES
TO THE TWO PERSONS ON BOARD THE ACFT, POST CRASH FIRE
DESTROYED THE ACFT, CONCORD, CA
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 1 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
WEATHER: SP 2353Z 190 11KT 10SM 0368KN 047BKN 17/09
Activity: Pleasure Phase:
Take-off Operation: General
Dep Date: Dep.
Flt Plan: NONE Wx
Last Radio Cont: UNK Last Clearance: UNK
FAA FSDO: OAKLAND, CA
Entry date: 04/14/2004