Vintage planes collide off Calif. coast

Feb. 4, 2007 at 3:52 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Two World War II-era biplanes collided this weekend off of the coast of California, but their pilots managed successful emergency landings.

On Saturday afternoon off the coast of California's Palos Verdes Peninsula, pilot Harry Haggard's 1942 Boeing Stearmann collided with pilot Ralph Baxter's 1940 Waco after the latter vintage biplane took off from Torrance Municipal Airport, the Los Angeles Times said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is set to investigate the aerial collision, which area authorities said could have been much worse.

As it was, both planes only received minor damage from the midair incident and neither Baxter nor Haggard was treated for anything beyond minor injuries, the Times said.

Capt. Jason Dobine of the Torrance fire department said after the near disaster, Haggard and an unidentified third pilot desperately searched for their temporarily missing friend.

"These guys all know each other," Dobine told the newspaper. "There is a group of them who have been friends for years."

"When the word came back from the tower that their friend (Baxter) was OK, they all were cheering," he added.

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Topics: Palos Verdes
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