The 30-year-old student pilot who had just bought his single-engine Beechcraft 2324 Musketeer last week was practicing takeoff and landing maneuvers from the Palo Alto Airport when the engine stalled, said Menlo Park Fire Protection District Division Chief Frank Fraone.
The Redwood City man was with an instructor when the incident occurred, and he immediately looked to avoid the high-voltage power lines and East Palo Alto neighborhood that were struck by another small aircraft in February 2010, Fraone said. Three people in that plane were killed in the crash and several homes, and vehicles were damaged or destroyed.
Tuesday's accident occurred about 2 miles northwest of Palo Alto Airport at 9:47 a.m., and the plane was at an elevation of about 300 feet — too low to turn back, Fraone said.
Flying is a new hobby for the pilot, his instructor, Jassen Todorov, said.
The pilot aimed the aircraft for a gravel trail after the engine would not restart, but the aircraft's left wing struck a small tree on the edge of the trail and was partially sheared off, according to Fraone. The plane then spun into the drained marshland and rested beside and nearly perpendicular to the trail.
If it hadn't been for the tree, they would have made the landing, Fraone said: "They couldn't have selected a better location. They did an outstanding job."
The pilot, who declined to give his name, and the instructor, Todorov, 36, from San Francisco, were not injured.
"I'm happy — lucky — alive," Todorov said.
The FAA is investigating the incident.
Man arrested after south Palo Alto stabbing
A Palo Alto resident was arrested for attempted murder Tuesday evening (Aug. 23) after he allegedly stabbed his wife several times, police said.
Police said the stabbing occurred at the couple's home in the 3700 block of Redwood Circle in south Palo Alto. Officers received a report of a woman bleeding in the street in the 300 block of East Charleston Road. Police provided first aid to the victim, and Fire Department paramedics transported her to a local hospital, where she remains in stable condition, police said.
The episode allegedly began with an argument.
The husband, Daoming Qiu, 48, was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose on one count of attempted murder, police said.
Bicyclist, 64, dies after collision in Menlo Park
A 64-year-old bicyclist has died after his bike and a Lincoln Town car collided in Menlo Park Wednesday (Aug. 24).
Richard Buckley, of Redwood City was riding his bike at the intersection of Chilco Street and Bayfront Expressway around 11:13 a.m. when the accident occurred, according to police.
Investigators said the driver of the 2008 Lincoln Town Car showed no signs of alcohol or drug impairment and cooperated with police.
Traffic was diverted on Bayfront Expressway between Willow Road and Chrysler Drive until 2:30 p.m. to assist in the investigation.
The Menlo Park Police Department asks anyone who witnessed this accident to call 330-6300.
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