Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Governor, DA uninjured in plane mishap


May 24, 2012

SANTA FE — A private plane carrying Gov. Susana Martinez and Clovis-Portales District Attorney Matt Chandler landed without its landing gear down Wednesday in Santa Fe, but there were no injuries, officials said.

The emergency landing took place about 10 p.m. at Santa Fe Municipal Airport.

The governor was returning from a campaign event in Tucumcari for Republican state Senate candidate Angie Spears. The Spears campaign paid for the flight, spokesman Scott Darnell said.

The governor's husband Chuck Franco was also on board.

Martinez told reporters Thursday she saw sparks flying the small plane carrying her and others crash-landed, but she said the incident won't keep her from taking more flights on small planes.

Martinez said she initially thought a tire had blown on the plane's landing gear.

"It wasn't scary, in the sense that we didn't realize what had happened until it happened," Martinez told reporters after a childhood reading event Thursday in Espanola this morning. "The plane was not destroyed — nothing was broken off or flew off."

The single-engine Malibu propeller plane was piloted by Sid Strebeck, a Clovis businessman who has approximately 3,000 flight hours.

"On approach to the airport, there were high crosswinds that forced the pilot to circle the airport, at which time the pilot lifted the landing gear, which he failed to re-deploy when finally landing," Darnell said.

Chandler wrote in a text message the landing was "relatively smooth."

"The plane was skidding down the runway on its belly, but Sid was able to keep it upright and on the asphalt until it stopped.

"I have actually had bumpier landings with the wheels down," Chandler wrote. "By God's grace, everyone is just fine."

The plane received "some damage," Darnell said.


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