SAN DIEGO – The family of a 12-year-old boy who suffered a serious head injury when he was struck by a small plane on a Carlsbad Beach filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the plane’s owner and its pilot.
The lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court was filed against El Cajon-based Air Ads Inc., company owner James Oakley and the 23-year-old pilot, James William Kanagy, according to a news release.
Nicholas Baer was struck by the small plane as it made an emergency landing on Carlsbad State Beach on the Fourth of July. Baer was bodyboarding with some friends when the Piper PA18 dove towards the crowded beach and crashed. The single-engine plane, towing an advertising banner, landed upside down in shallow water. The plane grazed Baer on the way down.
"I was kind of transitioning to skim boarding, and then... I don't know, I guess the plane just came down," Baer said in an interview with ABC News last month.
Baer was taken to Rady Children's Hospital for treatment of a gash to his head, a concussion and skull damage. He underwent surgery and was admitted to an intensive care unit. He spent only four days in the hospital. Physicians have said they expect Nicholas to make a full recovery.
Kanagy was uninjured in the crash. He told investigators the aircraft lost power for unknown reasons while towing an advertising banner over the coastline.
The family’s attorney, David S. Casey Jr., alleges that the crash was caused by negligence on behalf of the pilot and owner.
“It is simply reckless to land a plane on a crowded beach, even in the event of engine failure,” Casey said in the news release.
Casey states that the pilot violated a federal code that requires the plane to keep a 500-foot distance from people on the ground.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.