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Pilot injured in W. Michigan plane crash

The Detroit News

Park Township, Mich. — Authorities say a 66-year-old man walked away with only minor injuries after crash landing a small plane on a Lake Michigan beach.

WGHN-AM reports Steven Stam told officers he was flying Sunday evening along the lakeshore in western Michigan when the plane’s engine began having trouble. He brought the plane down in dune grass in Ottawa County’s Park Township, near Holland State Park.

TV stations WOOD and WZZM that Stam also was involved in a September 2009 crash while trying to land at Park Township Airport. He wasn’t hurt in that crash.

Jackee Thompson told “something didn’t sound right” before Sunday’s crash. She says “the next thing you know, everyone is running to the crash site.”

The pilot walked away with minimal injuries, said Debora Malone, supervisor for the sheriff’s 911 emergency center.

“Everything went very smoothly,” she said.

The pilot put the silver single-engine plane down about 500 feet north of Holland State Park, which is near the city of Holland, around 6:45 p.m., Malone said.

There were no other injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration is handling the investigation, Malone said.

Roland Herwig, FAA spokesman in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, confirmed one person was aboard the Alon A2 small plane and said the pilot had a “minor cut.” FAA representatives will be at the site Monday. They’ll conduct “both a paper investigation and probably something physical.”

“We don’t know if it’s a mechanical problem,” he said. “That’ll be part of the investigation.”

The incident happened near Spyglass Condominiums on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan and quickly attracted attention of residents and other witnesses.

“We had a lot of calls,” Malone said of the crash landing. “They blew up the phones.”

The Associated Press contributed.