ESPAÑOLA – Gov. Susana Martinez told reporters this morning she saw sparks flying when a small plane carrying her and others crash-landed at Santa Fe Municipal Airport Wednesday night, but she said the incident won’t keep her from taking more flights on small planes.
Speaking for the first time since the incident about 10 p.m. Wednesday, Martinez said she initially thought a tire had blown on the plane’s landing gear.
“It wasn’t scary, in the sense that we didn’t realize what had happened until it happened,” Martinez told reporters after a childhood reading event in Española this morning. “The plane was not destroyed — nothing was broken off or flew off.”
Martinez said the plane’s pilot has extensive experience — including piloting flights for past New Mexico Govs. Gary Johnson and Garrey Carruthers — but forgot to redeploy the landing gear after strong winds forced the plane to make a second attempt at landing.
“Mistakes happen and no one’s perfect,” Martinez said.
Martinez said she was reading during the plane’s descent but put away her reading materials shortly before the bumpy landing.
“It didn’t rattle us in the plane, it didn’t move us around, we didn’t bounce around, we didn’t feel a sudden thump, nothing,” she said. “Truly what gave us the hint that something went wrong was the sound of medal on the asphalt and the sparks along the outside of the plane.”
“It just wasn’t that eventful. Once we walked away and looked at it we went, ‘Wow, that just happened to us.'”
She said she was planning to get on another flight to Farmington this afternoon.
“You shake it off,” she said. “You have to .. A lot of bad things happen to people and if you dwell on it, you stop doing those things that are convenient or make things easier for you. I shook it off and I’m on my next plane in a few hours and it will be fine.”
SANTA FE – A private plane carrying Gov. Susana Martinez and her husband, Chuck Franco, landed at Santa Fe Municipal Airport without its landing gear down Wednesday night, but there were no injuries, the governor’s spokesman said.
Matt Chandler, district attorney for the 9th Judicial District, also was on board, but was not injured, said spokesman Scott Darnell.
The emergency landing took place at about 10 p.m.
The governor was returning from a campaign event in Tucumcari for Republican state Senate candidate Angie Spears. The Spears campaign paid for the flight, Darnell said.
The single-engine Malibu propeller plane was piloted by Sid Strebeck, a Clovis businessman who has approximately 3,000 flight hours.
“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 said.
The plane received “some damage,” Darnell said.
The governor was expected to go ahead with scheduled activities today, Darnell said.