Pilot error blamed for beach plane crash that injured boy

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Plane crashes on Carlsbad State Beach

Banner towing plane crash lands on Carlsbad beach

CARLSBAD, Calif. – The small plane crash on Carlsbad State Beach that injured a 12-year-old boy in July was blamed on the pilot for having an empty fuel tank, the National Transportation Safety Board report stated.

The single-engine plane, registered to Air Ads Inc., was towing a banner before it dove toward the crowded beach crashing by the waterline. The 23-year-old pilot was uninjured, but Nicholas Baer, 12, suffered a concussion and had emergency brain surgery.

The NTSB’s findings stated the pilot, Luke William Kanagy, failed to manage the fuel system properly during a banner tow operation resulting in a loss of engine power.

Nicholas Baer recovers in the hospital after getting hit by a plane. (Credit: Rady Children's Hospital)

Nicholas Baer recovers in the hospital after getting hit by a plane. (Credit: Rady Children’s Hospital)

The Piper PA18 has two fuel tanks, left and right tanks.  According to the report, the left tank was empty and the right tank had fuel in it.  The plane’s fuel selector valve remained pointed to the left tank.

A previous report mentioned the engine malfunctioned during flight, according to the Union-Tribune.

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