Miles from shore

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS -

As the Swift’s en­gine stalled, Lanny heated the car­bu­re­tors first, think­ing that they might have iced up. Still no rum­ble.

He checked the in­stru­ments, changed the fuel mix­ture to rich and ac­ti­vated the fuel boost pump. Still noth­ing. He set the glide speed at 80 mph and called a may­day to Patux­ent Ap­proach, the air traf­fic con­troller for the area, which is run by the Navy. There was no time to turn back to Tang­ier, he told the con­troller. The bet­ter op­tion was to get as close as pos­si­ble to the land off to their right.

Al­ready they were down to an al­ti­tude of 1,200 feet when Lanny veered the plane to the right. He hoped the 40 mph tail wind would push them a bit far­ther to­ward solid ground.

“I think if I said any­thing to Mom, it was, ‘Mom, we’re go­ing to have to ditch this thing.’ ”

In less than three min­utes, they hit the water — three miles from land.

The wind that had pushed them closer to shore also in­creased the force with which the plane hit the water, and next to him, Mary’s face slammed twice into the con­trol panel.

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