Another Beach Forced Landing

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For the second time in less than three weeks, a small plane made a forced landing on a Sarasota County, Florida beach. Television station WWSB Channel 7 is reporting that just before noon Tuesday, the Air Traffic Control tower at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport called 911. A Pitts Special reported an engine power loss and landed on Siesta Key Beach not far from the busy public beach area. It flipped over during rollout on the sand. "He saw Siesta Key Beach, he saw there was a lot of people on the beach, he did his best to get away from the populated area and put it down in a safe location," said Lt. Daniel Tutko of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

The pilot has been identified as Earle Swan, 75, of Bradenton. His passenger was Martin Thomas, 51, of Cape Coral. "He had engine trouble, at some point the engine cut off and he was forced to make the emergency landing," Lt. Tutko said. A similar accident late last month on Caspersen Beach in Venice didn't end as well. The pilot of a distressed plane made a forced landing near the water's edge, striking and killing a father and daughter who were there on vacation. The accident on Capersen Beach has generated discussions among pilots of the ethics of putting someone else's life in jeopardy when dealing with an emergency as well as research conducted by AVweb's Paul Bertorelli on ditching airplanes and whether its safer to attempt to land on a beach or in shallow water just off shore.