Plane safely makes emergency landing on Sanibel beach
The Sanibel Police Department reported that a plane safely made an emergency landing on Aug. 12 at approximately 1:20 p.m. on the island’s beach shoreline near the West Gulf Beach Drive Access #1.
When police arrived on scene, the single-engine, single-seat Piper Aircraft had already landed and officers made contact with the pilot, Kevin Vetter, 23. According to a report, he explained that he works for Aerial Banners and was flying with an advertising banner when he experienced engine trouble.
Vetter told police that he believed the issue was an iced carburetor.
He then explained that he detached the advertising banner and made an emergency landing on an unoccupied stretch of beach with no further issues. Vetter did not sustain any injuries in the landing.
A witness to the landing said she could tell from the engine’s sound that there was an issue.
According to the report, Sanibel police spoke to the Federal Aviation Administration and Flight Standard District Office and were told that the criteria for a crash was not met, so an investigator would not be responding to the site. Police officials decided to let the plane to take off from the beach.
Milota Skral, with Aerial Banners, had responded to the scene and conducted an inspection of the plane. The icing problem on the carburetor had been corrected and it was deemed safe to fly. Because the plane only needed about 500 feet to take off, officers cleared the scene and allowed it to do so.
The plane took off eastbound without further complications, the report states.
Members of the Sanibel police and Lee County Sheriff’s Office traveled to the Gulf Beach Drive Access #6, where witnesses observed the advertising banner land in the Gulf of Mexico. The LCSO Marine Unit was able to locate and recover the tow rope for the banner, but not the banner itself.
ORIGINAL (Aug. 12, 2020):
The Sanibel Police Department reported that a plane safely made an emergency landing at approximately 1:20 p.m. today on Sanibel at the beach near West Gulf Beach Drive Access #6.
The pilot of the single-engine, single-seat Piper Aircraft reported to the Sanibel police that the plane began to sputter for unknown reasons. The pilot released the banner that he was flying and made the emergency landing.
There are no injuries reported at this time.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Sanibel Fire and Rescue Department, U.S. Coast Guard are on scene. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Lee County Port Authority have been notified.