Avista lineman rescues plane on a pole

Avista employee Steve Palmer retrieves a remote-controlled plane from a power pole Saturday, Dec. 15.

December 15, 2012 7:52 p.m. - Updated: 8:11 p.m.

The pilot of a model airplane watched emergency crews rescue his kit aircraft tonight after he crashed it into live power lines near Andrew Rypien Field in Hillyard.

Throwing rocks at the plane did no good, pilot Doug Silvers said. He thought he might wait until some windy weather rocked it out of its tangled perch near Bridgeport Avenue and Cook Street, but a friend called 911 instead.

Fire crews determined they weren’t equipped to retrieve the plane from a 13,000-volt power line and reported the situation to Avista.

Using a bucket truck and an extendable high-voltage stick, Avista line serviceman Steve Palmer plucked the aircraft to safety. The plastic plane was only slightly damaged, the owner said.

Palmer noted the situation was a first during his 34 years in the electrical industry. “I’ve had cats on poles, raccoons on poles, squirrels on poles, birds on poles, but this is the first airplane on a pole,” Palmer said.

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