Accident at Sky Soaring

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    • #10524
      Don GrilloDon Grillo

        Hello Sky Soaring members,

        On Sunday, May 16th around 1300 hrs the Lark experienced a low level weak link break during a winch launch. The pilots were able to execute the emergency procedure of starting a teardrop turn to return to the runway.  During that maneuvering to setup for a landing the glider entered a stall/spin and was unable to recover. The glider hit a tree before hitting the ground. Both pilots were injured and emergency services were dispatched to the scene.

        Steve Snyder received minor injuries and was released from the hospital a few hours later. Kevin Sheridan sustained injuries to his legs and lacerations. I do not have a report on his current condition.

        The Board of Directors wish both Steve and Kevin a quick recovery.

        Until further notice all winch operations will remain on hold while an investigation is completed.

        Please keep Steve and Kevin in your prayers. I will update the membership as I receive more information on their condition.


        Don Grillo
        Flight Comm. Chairman

      • #10530
        John DeRosaJohn DeRosa

          I haven’t written to you as yet about this accident waiting for the emotions to settle down. This is terrible in many ways and especially so for our fellow members Steve Synder and Kevin Sheridan.


          As you know Kevin is in the hospital with injuries, the most serious as I understand it is to his knee. I have spoken with Kevin’s brother Terry who has been giving me updates. Kevin had surgery yesterday which Terry told me went, “Good”. I did leave a voice mail for Kevin two days ago and got a middle of the night reply saying there was a lot of pain. Terry says that at this time Kevin doesn’t desire visitors plus there are Covid-19 restrictions. Today I left Kevin a short text message to say we all are thinking about him. Kevin may be in the hospital for an extended stay so if you can send him a card or letter I know that he would appreciate it.


          Advocate Sherman Hospital
          Room 41124
          1425 North Randall Rd
          Elgin, IL 60123


          Steve was discharged from the hospital after that accident and is recovering at home. Lots of bruises with many aches and pains.


          While I am in Minnesota with Don Grillo, Vice President John Osborne has been handling things at the field with the help of John Lincoln and Jim Hopkins. Contact any of the board with your questions.


          Obviously, the FAA, NTSB and our insurance company have all been notified and the investigation by the NTSB has started.


          Safety has been the overreaching topic and direction this year at Sky Soaring.  Just yesterday I sat through a very instructive presentation on glider accidents and it was very difficult to listen to the statistics which we have just added to. I wish I could tell you how this terrible accident will impact our club in the short and the long term. What may change? Will the club survive? I will try to keep you up to date with what I know as I know it.


          Please keep Kevin and Steve in your thoughts and prayers for a quick recovery.


          John DeRosa
          President, Sky Soaring Glider Club

        • #10536
          John DeRosaJohn DeRosa

            I understand that in the last few days that Kevin Sheridan has had surgery on his knee.  I don’t have any further information.


            Over the weekend Sky Soaring was visited at the airport by a representation of an attorney’s office that is representing Kevin.  We were provided with a document asking for us to keep all relevant documentation.  Our insurance company has been informed.


            At this point it is important that Sky Soaring’ membership does not communicate with any non-governmental organization, or individual, unless directed by our insurance company.  In the case of governmental organizations you should not offer information unless you were a direct witness to this unfortunate accident.  It is important to factually answer the questions asked without offering opinion.


            Going forward if you are contacted by anyone concerning this unfortunate accident, please provide the who/what/where information to a member of the board.


            Thank You,

            John DeRosa

            President, SSI



          • #10638
            John DeRosaJohn DeRosa

              Dear SSI Members,


              I have heard via text from Kevin Sheridan that he is now at a rehabilitation center and told me, “I seem to be feeling better now.  Have quite a few appointments.  Long road ahead.”  We all wish Kevin our best wishes and our fervent hope for a quick recovery.


              Due to this unfortunate accident Sky Soaring’s liability insurance carrier has engaged a Chicago area attorney on our club’s behalf to help provide advice and to assist Sky Soaring’s interests. The Sky Soaring Board of Directors has been working closely with this attorney and are responding to his requests as they arise.


              Here are some key directives from Sky Soaring’s attorney;  All physical items related to the accident (e.g. winch equipment, glider, etc.) are to be kept secured and should not be disturbed or handled in any manner at this time without permission from our attorney. Also, please bear in mind that your interests as a SSI member are also being represented by our attorney. We thus recommend that you discuss with our attorney any information about the accident which you believe to be pertinent and also that you do not speculate or conjecture about the accident with anyone. Members of our club who did not actually witness the accident should refrain from speculating about what happened and not share comments about what they heard happened.

              Please contact myself directly via phone or email if you have any input, questions, or comments.


              Thank You,

              John DeRosa
              President, Sky Soaring Glider Club

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