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Sometimes the difference between being in the right place at the right time and the opposite is a matter of a few feet and, miraculously, everyone involved came out of this one on the happy side of that equation. Dustin Koehler and his father were videotaping floatplanes taking off from Lake Spenard in Anchorage June 7 when something went wrong in the takeoff run of a de Havilland Beaver. Happily, Koehler, who kept the camera rolling throughout the sequence and the two adults, two children and two dogs on the Beaver were unhurt after the plane went over Koehler (he estimates the wing passed five feet over him) and hit rising ground less than 100 feet behind him. Ironically, the plane came to rest next to the the Alaska State Department of Transportation building. The unidentified pilot reportedly told the NTSB that a gust of wind knocked the aircraft off course and the video practically begs armchair analysts to dissect the sequence. There’s even a strategically placed windsock.
As for Koehler, after ducking out of the way of the passing plane and managing to catch its skid along the grass, he and other bystanders rushed to the plane, relieved to find all occupants in, as he describes it in the YouTube narrative, “pristine condition.” The same can’t be said for the vintage aircraft, which suffered severe damage. However, it (or more precisely its data plate) will almost certainly fly again as there is consistent demand for the legendary bush planes and several rebuilders in the U.S. and Canada that specialize in resurrecting them.