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Franklins Injured in Air Show Crash

Franklins
Kyle and Amanda Franklin perform their popular "Pirated Skies" routine during AirVenture 2010.

March 14, 2011 —Wingwalking air show performers Kyle and Amanda Franklin are hospitalized with serious injuries after they were forced to make an emergency landing while performing during Air Fiesta 2011 at the Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport Saturday afternoon.

The Brownsville Herald reported their Waco biplane suffered an engine failure during their “Pirated Skies” performance. According to witness reports at the air show, Amanda was still on the wing when the engine sputtered. She managed to get back inside the cabin while flames shot out of the back of the engine. A witness said Kyle was able to make a semi-controlled crash into trees, got out, and was helping to pull Amanda clear of the airplane when it exploded. Both were airlifted to the burn center in San Antonio, Texas.

In a letter posted March 13 on the “Younkin Airshows” Facebook page, Matt Younkin (Amanda’s brother) provided more details about the crash.

“I also have to extend a very sincere thanks to my brother-in-law Kyle who I strongly credit for the fact that my little sister is still with us. Having witnessed the accident and being one of the first on the scene, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he made no less than five quick decisions in the air and on the ground that gave her a second chance at life!!” Younkin wrote.

Younkin reports that Kyle maintained straight and level flight long enough to allow Amanda to return to her seat in the airplane before the crash. He also was able to find one of the only spots in the thorny Texas scrub to make a hard landing. Once on the ground he sustained burns in an effort to pull his wife from the wreckage. Kyle then transmitted over the aircraft radio updating rescuers about the post-crash fire which Matt Younkin feels motivated the firefighters to press-on through the brush to extinguish the fire.

Matt Younkin said Kyle’s injuries are not as severe as first reported and that he should make a “full and rapid recovery.” Younkin added that “the updates we are receiving on Amanda are increasingly optimistic and though she has a long road of recovery ahead of her, the doctors are giving us the impression that things are not as bad as first reported and her chances for a full recovery are getting better not worse.”

Our thoughts and well wishes are with Kyle and Amanda and the Younkin and Franklin families.

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