News Column

NM Gov. Martinez OK After Rough Landing

May 23 2012 10:00PM

Geoff Grammer

Gov. Susana Martinez and first gentleman Chuck Franco were among several passengers of a private single-engine plane that touched down late Wednesday without landing gear deployed, screeching to a stop on the runway of the Santa Fe Municipal Airport.

A spokesman for the governor said she and all passengers, including Clovis-based 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler, were unharmed in the troubled landing. The group was flying back to Santa Fe from Tucumcari where they attended a "meet-and-greet campaign event" for New Mexico Senate candidate Angie Spears, whose campaign paid for the flight, according to Martinez's spokesman Scott Darnell.

While Darnell told The New Mexican in an email the incident happened around 10 p.m. Wednesday, Santa Fe Police Lt. David Holliday said officers received word of the troubled landing from emergency dispatchers shortly after 11 p.m.

"When we arrived, the governor and her party were already in the terminal and doing fine," Holliday said. "But the plane was still stuck out on the runway."

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

"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 wrote in an email.

After the landing, "the pilot immediately notified the authorities, who arrived at the scene, and the appropriate incident reports are being filed. The governor and first gentleman left the airport for their residence at approximately 11:30 p.m., after authorities arrived and received information from all involved."

Darnell said the governor will resume regular duties Thursday morning, including a 9:30 a.m. event at the Espanola Public Library that kicks off a statewide summer reading program.

Source: (c) 2012 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.)

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