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Published: Saturday, 7/10/2004

Pilot suffers facial injuries when bird hits windshield

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio - A Sandusky man escaped serious injury yesterday after a gull hit the windshield of his plane, sending broken debris into the cockpit.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said pilot Harry Thomas Griffing III, 21, was treated for facial injuries at Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky.

His front-seat passenger, Ernest Owen, Jr., also of Sandusky, was not injured.

Troopers in Sandusky said Mr. Griffing took off from the Put-In-Bay airport at 9:28 a.m. and was 800 feet in the air when the bird struck the plane's windshield.

Mr. Griffing continued on to the airport at Middle Bass Island, where he landed the plane with assistance from his passenger.

The plane, a 1976 Brittain Norman Islander Model 766, is owned by Griffing Sandusky Airport Inc.

A trooper from the Sandusky post arrived on scene to investigate.

The Federal Aviation Administration also was notified about the incident, which the patrol said will be classified as an aircraft crash.

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