A 72-year-old Standish man who crash-landed a plane on Sebago Lake during the weekend is in fair condition at Maine Medical Center.

Richard Randall was flying his Piper PA-12 about 4 p.m. Saturday when snow began falling heavily, cutting visibility.

Randall tried to land on the frozen lake, but one of the plane’s skis caught in the snow and it flipped forward, said Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash ripped off one of the wings. Randall suffered a cut on his head that was not life-threatening, and was taken to Bridgton Hospital. A supervisor at the hospital said Monday that he was no longer there.

He apparently was transferred to Maine Medical Center and an official said today that Randall is in fair condition there.

Paul Frizzell and his wife were planning to leave their house near Nason’s Beach in Sebago when they saw people running toward the lake, saying that a plane had crashed. The snow had just started to come down heavily, he said.

Frizzell got his snowmobile and took his wife, Joline, who is a nurse, out to the crash site 150 to 200 yards from shore.

“The two guys that had run out there first had already pulled him out of the plane because they smelled gas,” he said. The pilot was lying on the ground, his head bloody from a gash, but he was conscious and talking. Frizzell dropped his wife off, then returned to shore, where rescue workers were assembling. He started ferrying out a half-dozen rescue workers, then brought out a backboard under one arm, he said. After that, he towed out the fire department’s sled, which hooks to the back of the snowmobile. The rescue workers put Randall on the backboard, then into the sled, Frizzell said.

One of the firefighters rode in the sled with Randall, leaning over him to protect him from the slush being kicked up by the snowmobile. From the shore, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Frizzell said he was impressed by his wife’s bravery on the ice, since she won’t even join him ice fishing.

The plane that Randall was flying was a single-engine aircraft made in 1947. According to a Federal Aviation Administration database, the plane’s last airworthiness certificate was issued in 1997. The plane is registered to Air Ads Inc. in Standish, according to the FAA.

FAA inspectors gathered information at the scene that is being provided to the National Transportation Safety Board. A spokesman for the safety board said it will use that information to determine the cause of the crash.

Retrieving the plane was a challenge because the ice – no more than 4 inches thick at the crash site – was melting in Sunday’s warm temperatures. Crews removed the remaining wing and then used an airboat to tow the fuselage to shore for inspection.

 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]