Author Richard Bach injured in a small-plane crash

Writer of 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' in serious condition

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SEATTLE -- Richard Bach, the author of the 1970s best-selling novella "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" among other spiritually oriented books rooted in themes of flight and self-discovery, was in serious condition Saturday after his small plane crashed near Friday Harbor.

The SeaRey single-engine amphibian aircraft clipped power lines at 4:30 p.m. Friday, about three miles west of Friday Harbor Airport, according to Ian Gregor, a public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Bach's son, James Bach, said his father was on his way to visit a friend on San Juan Island when the plane went down.

James Bach said his 76-year-old father, who was flying alone, has a head injury and broken shoulder. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, and later Saturday his son said the author's condition was improving.

James Bach tweeted: "Things are looking better. Doctors are 'guardedly optimistic.'"

In "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," published in 1970, Bach writes of a philosophically minded gull seeking to rise above the flock, which is focused on the dull regimen of finding food scraps. Jonathan is banished from the group only to come upon more enlightened gulls who guide him to spiritual lessons.

The short, simply crafted book gained little to no critical attention upon publication, but rose to No. 1 for several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Richard Bach, an experienced pilot, moved to Orcas Island more than 20 years ago, his son said.