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Executive nursing crash injuries Causes are unknown of 2 plane accidents on Shore in 2 days

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Andrew Earl Jackson nursed his aching body at his summer home in Queen Anne's County yesterday and counted himself lucky after walking away with only scratches and bruises from the crash Saturday of his single-engine airplane.

"I feel pretty terrible," Jackson said as he gently stretched his sore limbs. "It's been pretty traumatic."

"Right now, I just want to rest and not think about it."

Jackson, 61, had just taken off from Bay Bridge Airport on the Eastern Shore and was traveling to his Stevensville vacation home when his 1963 Champion lost power and crashed in a wheat field.

The plane skidded to a stop in the field, about 40 yards away from Route 8 and a Kmart store in Thompson Creek Mall.

The accident was the second in as many days on Kent Island involving a small plane that crashed moments after takeoff.

Jackson, vice president of corporate affairs for the American Broadcasting Co. in New York, said from the living room of his one-story brick home that his plane had just been inspected at a hangar next to the airport.

"It had just been through its yearly inspection and they signed off on it," said Jackson, who has been flying for 43 years and keeps another plane at his vacation home in Kentmoor, where he and his neighbors share an airstrip. "It just lost power."

On Friday, a twin-engine Piper Navajo piloted by Robert Childs, 43, and carrying his wife, Gail, 45, and five children, climbed to 75 feet before falling into the Chesapeake Bay.

Yesterday, they traveled to Meredith, N.H. -- their original destination -- in a van after a diver retrieved their luggage and other belongings from the plane, which is lodged in the bay.

Childs, who owns a nursery in Arnold, said he has been "racking my brain since this happened" and has some theories about the accident, but that he just wanted to get his family home safely.

He thanked the residents who helped them after the crash.

"These people are the real heroes," said Childs, who has been credited with safely landing his plane. "The way they helped us was incredible."

An investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board was not working the site yesterday. While Jackson's plane was towed Saturday to a hangar next to the airport, NTSB spokesman Alan Pollock said he had not been in contact with the investigator and had no idea when the Childs' plane -- which was fully fueled at the time of the crash -- would be removed from the water.

"We are not always responsible for moving the plane unless it is necessary for the investigation," Pollock said.

"It could be that we won't be moving the plane or it could be because of the holiday," he said.

Pollock said the investigation of the two crashes could take six to eight months and would involve examining the planes and maintenance records and interviewing victims and witnesses.

Yesterday, the crashes were a main topic of conversation at the airport, marina and restaurants on Kent Island, which has been dubbed by locals as the "home of the $100 hamburger" since becoming a haven for well-paid executives from New York, Virginia and points between, who fly in to spend the weekend or for an evening meal at one of the area's restaurants.

"Those weren't crashes. They were off-airport landings," said Albert Baer Jr., a retired Anne Arundel County Fire Department captain who works at the airport fueling planes.

"Any time someone can walk away from a landing, it's a good one," Baer said. "Both of those planes were totally under control until they hit the land and water."

Baer has worked for the airport, which is owned by Queen Anne's County, for two years and has noticed the increase in traffic and visitors during Kent Island's May-to-November tourist season.

Baer remembers when it was different.

"This place was literally out in the boonies. It was mainly fields just a few, short months ago," he said.

Changes are welcomed, "as long as they don't take away from the charm of the Eastern Shore," said Biana Bellafloures, owner of Hemingway's restaurant. She fears that the area will become as commercialized as downtown Annapolis.

So does Patrick Forest, 20, a resident of Centreville and waiter at Hemingway's.

"Tourism is one of the biggest industries here, but the tourists can be quite a nuisance," he said.

Pub Date: 5/27/96

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