Two men survive plane flip in lake

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / April 29, 2000

HAHNVILLE – Two men went down in an experimental amphibious plane Saturday afternoon in Lake Cataouatche, south of U.S. Highway 90. Neither was seriously injured, and the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.

FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said, “Experimental does not mean untested or untried,” adding it was a home-built aircraft with certified parts and mechanics assembling it.

According to Joel Brightbill of St. Charles Airport in Ama, Louis J. Brady ofHahnville and Robert Albrecht of Bridge City were flying a Volmer Amphibian owned by a friend, Les Palmisano of Metairie, and had taken off that afternoon from the St. Charles Airport in Ama.They had flown the 30-foot-wingspan plane during a period of several days and were comfortable with its controls, Brightbill said. “They had flown outseveral times that day,” he added.

Brady was practicing water landings and, after one successful landing, another was tried almost immediately about 4 p.m.However, the landing gear accidently came down, and the wheels tipped the plane over when they struck the 4 1/2-foot-deep water. The gear was in thedown position when the plane was recovered on Sunday, having sustained only minor damage.

“Apparently, the uplock pin failed,” said Brightbill.

The aviators sustained only minor injuries. Brady sustained a cut on his head,and Albrecht had a similar cut on his eyebrow.

Both were rescued by a passing fisherman and taken to the Westwego Boat Launch. From there they were treated for their injuries at West JeffersonMedical Center in Marrero.

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office didn’t get a report on the incidentuntil after 6 p.m. that evening as officials thought at first the accidenthappened in Jefferson Parish, which borders the lake.

The FAA Flight Standards office in Baton Rouge is investigating the accident, Herwig said.

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