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WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2007
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Emergency personnel assist Chris Wright after the propeller of his plane hit him in the head Tuesday at Pryor Field. He was reported to be in good condition Tuesday night at Huntsville Hospital after receiving 52 stitches.
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
Emergency personnel assist Chris Wright after the propeller of his plane hit him in the head Tuesday at Pryor Field. He was reported to be in good condition Tuesday night at Huntsville Hospital after receiving 52 stitches.

EMERGENCY AT PRYOR FIELD: PROPELLER STRIKES MAN
Pilot hit in head turning prop
2nd plane accident in 2 years for resident of Cotaco; was passenger in Trinity crash

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

Don't tell Chris Wright lightning can't strike twice in the same location.

The Cotaco man was involved Tuesday in his second airplane accident in less than two years and apparently will live to tell the tale again.

A wooden propeller struck Wright, 39, twice in the back of his head, breaching his skull, said Bob McCormick, a pilot who was standing next to Wright when the accident occurred at Pryor Field Regional Airport at about 11:45 a.m.

Wright was hand turning the prop of his sport biplane when it fired unexpectedly, he said. Wright was leaning in to grab the prop for another turn when it fired. His hand missed the prop and he lost his balance and fell into the prop's rotation. The prop struck him twice before the engine quit, McCormick said. The prop sustained a half-inch-deep gash.

"It could have been a lot worse," he said.

McCormick called 911, and a Decatur ambulance was on scene in nine minutes, he said, noting there was a brief delay waiting for the dispatcher to determine whether Decatur or Athens had jurisdiction. MedFflight arrived nine minutes after the ambulance and took Wright to Huntsville Hospital.

He was listed in good condition in a regular hospital room Tuesday night.

"He was breathing well," McCormick said. "And he was moving."

Wright's wife, Marie, said her husband received 52 stitches to repair a 9-inch gash in the back of his head.

Wright, co-owner of North Alabama Aviation, got his pilot's license in 1994. He fell in love with flying while growing up in Cotaco in the flight path of Huntsville International Airport.

He proved his love for flight by climbing back into the cockpit within a year after a near-fatal crash in August 2005.

Wright was severely injured when the plane he rode in as a passenger went down near Trinity. That accident killed the pilot, William W. Powell, and Wright spent nearly two months in the hospital and several months afterward learning to walk and talk again.

"I am the most grateful person you'll meet probably in the next 25 years," Wright told The Daily five months after that crash. "I know exactly how blessed I am because my luck has never been that good."

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