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Rhode Island Aviation Hall Of Fame Honors Thomas Prinster And Lyle Hogg

Pilots Saved 11 Lives, Including Their Own By Landing A Burning Airplane On A Frozen Lake

Two pilots who are credited with saving 11 lives in 1982 have been honored by the Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame. The organization presented its Special Award to Thomas Prinster (1945-2018) and Lyle Hogg, who saved 11 lives on February 21, 1982 by successfully crash landing their burning commuter plane on the frozen Scituate Reservoir.

Prinster and Hogg were flying a de Havilland Twin Otter on a commuter flight on February 21, 1982 with 10 passengers on board when the aircraft caught fire. In the story recounted by the Valley Breeze newspaper, Hogg said that he and Prinster activated the windshield deicer to see if it was working on that cold, wintery day. The device malfunctioned, and isopropyl alcohol was spewed onto the pilots and caught fire.

With their pants burning and the cockpit filling with smoke, the pilots had to open the windows of the plan to be able to breathe and see outside, according to Hogg's account.

They located the frozen reservoir, and managed to crash land the plane on the ice. One passenger died of asphyxiation, but the two pilots were able to evacuate the remaining passengers from the aircraft. There were rescue crews already on the scene. Hogg said that he was suffering from inflammation of the lungs and burns over 25 percent of his body. His eyes were swollen shut, and he had to be escorted off the ice.

Prinster was burned over 75 percent of his body.

Both returned to flying. Prinster, a former naval aviator, passed away in 2018 due to complications he still suffered from the accident.

Hogg went on to have a 35 year career flying for US Airways, and is now the president of Piedmont Airlines at the age of 65.

The two were honored at the 17th annual Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame dinner, which was held Saturday, Nov. 23.

(Image from file)

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