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Eight Survivors Hitched Ride from Island Crash

April 8, 1985

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) _ One of the seven passengers who hitchhiked to the hospital from the wreckage of a fiery plane crash says the next time he leaves this island community, he’ll ride the ferry.

″I think I’m going to take the boat for awhile. I’m much better at swimming,″ said Karl Readel, 25, of Nantucket.

Readel was aboard Will’s Air Flight 938 when the Piper Navajo twin-engine plane crashed in fog at 6:15 Saturday night, shearing off treetops and skidding to rest in flames about 500 feet from a Nantucket Memorial Airport runway.

Readel, six other passengers and the pilot walked away from the wreck and got a lift in a pickup truck to Nantucket Cottage Hospital, where three passengers remain hospitalized in satisfactory condition.

″It was not particularly the way I like to start my Saturday night,″ said Readel.

Authorities said Donna Mayo, 15, and Isaac and June Harter, 76 and 74, respectively, all of Nantucket, were being treated for cuts, burns, and bruises.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by state police, the Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission.

According to a state police report, Flight 938 was en route to Nantucket from Boston after a stop in Hyannis, when it met ″minor turbulence and fog″ at 2,000 feet.

Readel said the air got very turbulent as the plane descended through the cloud cover.

″The next thing I knew I was looking at pine trees and I knew there were no pine trees on the runway. I heard more than felt impact on the wings and then we went down, the wings broke off, caught on fire and I kicked the door open,″ he said.

″We got everybody out and walked away.″

State police identified the other passengers as Marcello Marin, 42, Peggy Lee, 25, of Boston, and Sharon Butler, 14, of Nantucket, and pilot Muhammed Shamim Abrahani, 34. All suffered minor burns.

Jerry Welch, Will’s Air interline manager, Welch said the crash was the first for the airline since it began operating in 1981.

Readel, a carpenter, said he singed his ear and hair in the crash.

″I came to a real good understanding with the man upstairs,″ he said.

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