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Ultralight Pilot’s Finger Restored After Crash

September 7, 1993

HEMET, Calif. (AP) _ Pilot Robert Dentice made a safe emergency landing on a busy highway, but while he was directing traffic around his ultralight aircraft the propeller lopped off part of one of his fingers.

Bystanders found the piece of finger and Dentice, 62, of Arcadia, underwent surgery Monday to reattach it at Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia.

Dentice and a friend, Raymond Britton, took off Monday in two ultralights, which resemble motorized hang gliders, authorities said.

Dentice had engine trouble and, because of rugged terrain, had to land on a highway packed with traffic, said Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Nick Gnatek.

After landing, he began trying to push the ultralight off the road. But as waved passing cars around it, the still-spinning propeller cut off his right index finger above the second knuckle, Gnatek said.

Dentice and Britton, who crash-landed in nearby brush, were unable to find the severed finger, so they flagged down a car for a ride to a fire station.

After they left, bystanders found the finger and deputies relayed it to a clinic where Dentice had been taken.

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