Surprise landing near Coleharbor
By Suzanne Werre
Sally and Fred Hoff of rural Coleharbor have had the mailbox at the end of their driveway knocked off lots of times – it has often been hit by a big piece of machinery being driven or hauled by a farmer – and the farmer usually doesn’t even know he or she hit it.
This latest knock-down of the mailbox, too, last Thursday was also by a big piece of machinery. But instead of it being a combine or a swather knocking it over, it was an airplane, a 1975 Piper-PA-151 owned by Pietsch Aircraft Restoration and Repair, Inc., of Minot, en route from Bismarck making an unscheduled landing on the county road next to Hoff’s driveway around 7 p.m.
Nearby-farmer Paul Anderson was the first on the scene, noting that neither the pilot nor the passenger in the plane was injured, and the plane wasn’t damaged – just the mailbox was.
"They just put it down on the county road – just clipped the mailbox," said Anderson.
Anderson was already pulling the plane off the county road to an approach when Sally Hoff noticed something was amiss at the end of her driveway.
"I didn’t hear a thing," said Hoff. "I think it was about 25 minutes before I noticed it.
"I looked out the window . . . and I thought, ‘shoot, somebody hit the mailbox again’."