PORTLAND, Me. — A commuter pilot was sucked partway out of his plane and clung to the craft's outside staircase for about 10 minutes until the co-pilot made an emergency landing, an airline spokesman said today.
Eastern Express pilot Henry Dempsey, 45, of Cape Elizabeth, suffered only cuts and bruises and was treated at a hospital and released, said Steven Mason, sales manager for the airline.
The accident occurred Wednesday at about 8 p.m. during a flight without passengers from Lewiston to Boston.
The aircraft was about five miles outside the airport, several thousand feet in the air, when Dempsey noticed a passenger door ajar, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Susan Coulter and Portland police said.
Dempsey was trying to close the door when he apparently was sucked out of the open hatch, authorities said.
The co-pilot of the plane asked for permission to make an emergency landing at the Portland Jetport--believing his partner had plunged to his death, officials said.