Unusual Accidents: Mid-Air, Wright Flyer, 18-Hour Swim

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The last few days have produced some GA accidents that are gaining national attention. July 30, a float-equipped Cessna 206 was able to fly 100 miles to Anchorage and land safely after colliding with a Cessna 180. The 180 crashed and both occupants died. A few hours before that, a replica of a Wright Model B crashed near Springfield, Ohio, killing volunteer pilots Don Gum, 73, and Mitchell Cary, 65. The aircraft was owned by the Wright "B" Flyer Corp. of Dayton, which built the aircraft as a link to the past but with a modern engine and controls. The happy story in all this comes from the miraculous survival of Michael Trapp, an upstate New York mechanic who survived a ditching and 18 hours in the chilly waters of Lake Huron.

Trapp was on his way to Eau Claire in his Cessna 150 when he had engine problems and put the aircraft in the lake about 20 miles from shore. He swam for 18 hours, getting tantalizingly close to land before being turned back by currents. He finally managed to flag down a passing boat by putting a sock on his hand to make it more noticeable.