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California and the West

Unruffled Flier Hangs In There

April 10, 1998| Associated Press

SEATTLE — Mike Warren got hung up on his way to work Thursday.

Warren, who commutes to work by air, got his small plane tangled in power lines and dangled upside-down by one wheel, 60 feet above a highway, for nearly four hours before firefighters in a cherry-picker brought him down.

"I thought that somebody was looking after me. I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth," said Warren, who added that there was no sense fretting because "you've got two options--it's going to hang here or it's not going to hang here."

Warren, 47, was whisked away for hospital tests and released hours later with only bruises across his lap from hanging in his seat belt.

Warren said he was about 20 feet off the runway during a routine landing at Boeing Field just south of Seattle when his two-seat plane was suddenly tossed to the left by a violent pocket of turbulent air left behind by a departing aircraft.

Warren said that he gave the plane full power and tried to fly out of the danger but that, with the nearby control tower limiting his turning radius, he struck the power lines.

Sparks flew and the plane flipped, but the impact was actually light and springy, the pilot said.

He added that he radioed the tower, saying, "I think I have a situation here. The lady called back and said, 'Yeah, you're hanging by one wheel.' "

Crane operators retrieved Warren's Cessna 150L shortly after his rescue, setting the 1,300-pound plane down on its landing gear.

"He was more concerned about his airplane than he was about himself," said Tukwila Fire Lt. Dave Ewing. "He's a lucky man," the firefighter said, adding that the rescue "was a fun one to do."

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