The Coast News Group

Family of boy struck by plane files lawsuit

CARLSBAD — The family of the 12-year-old boy who was struck by a plane on the beach during the Fourth of July weekend has filed a lawsuit against the plane’s owner and operator, Air Ads Inc., and the pilot Luke William Kanagy.

The 12-year-old, Nicholas Baer, was playing in the surf at Carlsbad State Beach on the holiday when a banner-towing plane made a crash landing on the beach due to engine failure.

The pilot was uninjured.

The single-engine Piper PA18 landed in the shallows and flipped over. When it flipped, it struck Baer in the head.

He was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital where he underwent brain surgery to avoid getting an infection from the seawater and sand.

Baer’s doctor said he is expected to make a full recovery.

The family’s attorney, David S. Casey Jr., called the incident reckless.

“This was a serious accident in which a young boy suffered a head injury — from which he is recovering — and ultimately underwent emergency brain surgery at Rady Children’s Hospital,” Casey Jr. said. “It is simply reckless to land a plane on a crowded beach, even in the event of engine failure.”

According to Casey Jr., the pilot violated a federal regulation, which stipulates pilots must keep and maintain a 500-foot distance from people on the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.