Full recovery predicted for boy injured in plane crash at Carlsbad beach

A 12-year-old boy injured Saturday when a small plane crashed on a Carlsbad beach suffered a concussion and required surgery but is expected to make a full recovery, doctors said Monday.

The boy, Nicholas Baer, had been boogie boarding with friends and was walking out of the surf when the single-engine Piper PA18 struck him from behind.

He was rushed to the hospital where doctors determined that he had suffered an injury to his skull bone and a laceration to his forehead, according to Dr. Hal Meltzer, a neurosurgeon at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.

Meltzer, who operated on the boy, said that he should probably reduce his activities this summer and fall but that he should be fine after that.

"I'm very optimistic that he'll be able to get back to all the fun things and activities he's looking forward to," Meltzer said. The boy does not remember the accident and it is unclear what part of the airplane struck his head, he said.

For surgery, his head needed to be shaved. In sympathy, numerous of his friends had their heads shaved.

The 23-year-old pilot, the only person on the plane, was not injured.

The plane, which was towing a commercial banner, lost power about 3 p.m. and slowly descended onto the beach near the Encina power plant.

The boy's parents held a news conference with Meltzer at the hospital.

"He's tired and he wants to go home," Bill Baer said of his son, who attends middle school in Carlsbad and plays soccer.

"We're really pleased the pilot was uninjured," said Janice Baer, the boy's mother.

The crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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