Nicholas Baer, 12, was body-boarding with friends near the Encina Power Plant just after 3 p.m. Saturday when the single-engine Piper PA18 came down at the water's edge, grazed him and then flipped over nose-first, according to California State Parks officials.
Medics took the boy to Rady Children's Hospital for treatment of a gash to his head. He was admitted to an intensive care unit, where he remained Monday morning with a positive prognosis, hospital spokesman Carlos Delgado said.
He remembers a little bit of what happened before the crash and some moments after it, his father Bill Baer said.
"Nicholas is just a kid and it was just another day at the beach for him," Bill Baer said.
Nicholas had plans to be a junior lifeguard and playing soccer this summer, but has been advised to hold off for the season. Rady neurosurgeon Dr. Hal Meltzer said he is optimistic Nicholas will fully recover and be able to play sports by the winter.
"We may find things like many kids who have brain injuries of some kind or another that they need a little bit extra help to get back with school and get back with that. So we’ll probably do something extended over time as well with him." said Dr. Meltzer.
Baer is eager to leave the hospital, his mother told reporters Monday. She said Nicholas was most upset that he had to shave his head. Although, he's feeling better about it now that his friends are shaving their heads in support.
The 23-year-old pilot was uninjured. He told investigators the aircraft, which he was operating on behalf of an El Cajon company named Air Ads Inc., lost power for unknown reasons while towing an advertising banner over the coastline.