Son: 'Seagull' author Bach speaking, slowly heals

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Writer Richard Bach, author of the inspirational best-seller “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” is able to speak a few words and respond to simple commands as he remains hospitalized in intensive care more than a week after his small plane went down in Washington state.

The 76-year-old Bach continued to recover from head and shoulder injuries Sunday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, but the healing process has been slow, his son said in an email to The Associated Press.

James Bach described his father as in “sort of a daze” from the Aug. 31 accident in which his small plane flipped over after hitting power lines on San Juan Island.

“Actually I’m learning that consciousness is not an all or nothing thing,” James Bach said of his father’s gradually improving condition. “Although he can say a few words and respond to simple commands, he does not seem to know why he’s in the hospital. It’s possible that, at any moment, he may snap into lucidity.”

Last week, federal investigators posted a preliminary incident report, which noted that the plane struck power lines but does not include any more detail on what caused the accident.

James Bach, who has visited the site about three miles from a small airport where his father was going to land, believes it was the fact that several power lines in the area are of varying thickness and visibility, which may have fooled his father, an experienced aviator.

“You can hardly see them. I also flew over the site and I couldn’t see them from the air. We think he mistook the thick black wires in the distance for the ones that he was actually warned about,” he said.

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