SEATTLE, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Richard Bach, author of the 1970s bestseller “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” who was seriously injured when his small plane flipped during a landing, is improving and will soon be moved out of intensive care, a hospital spokeswoman said on Monday.
Doctors at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center were upgrading Bach’s condition to satisfactory from serious, spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. “He’s improving.”
Bach, 76, clipped power lines with the landing gear of his 2008 Easton Gilbert Searey on Aug. 31 while trying to land on a grass airstrip on San Juan Island in northwestern Washington state.
A group of young tourists found Bach, suspended upside down and strapped to his harness in the heavily damaged single-engine plane, and cut him loose from the wreckage.
Bach is now able to enjoy chocolate milk and respond to verbal commands such as “cough” and “give a thumbs up.” He was expected to be moved out of intensive care late on Monday, son James Bach told Reuters.
”He can say some words, but it’s hard for him. so he mostly sticks to ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ the son said.
“We still can’t tell if he understands that he is in the hospital and why he is there. But he asked for chocolate milk today - so at least his love of chocolate milk is intact,” said the younger Bach, 46.
“We think it’s going to be a long slow recovery. We’re taking it one day at a time. We’re optimistic.”
The author’s injuries included a head blow that caused internal bleeding, bruised ribs, a bruised shoulder that doctors initially thought was broken and a right eye that remains shut, his son said.
“Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” the story of a seagull expelled from his clan after he pushes himself to become an extraordinary flyer, was published in 1970. It topped the New York Times best-sellers list two years later and was made into a movie in 1973.
Editing by Cynthia Johnston