Author Richard Bach recovers after nearly dying in a plane crash

And he finished the fourth installment of his bestselling book ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ to boot

Richard Bach in the cockpit of his piper cub airplane in 1972 (John Shearer/Getty)

If you thought that time when Stephen King recovered after being hit by a car while out for a walk leaving him with a shattered leg, broken hip and a collapsed right lung was as unimaginable as one of the scenes from the authors’s 50-plus novels and countless short stories, get a load of this: Another internationally bestselling author, Richard Bach, who found fame in 1970 after writing Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a three part novella about a bird, is on the mend after nearly dying in a plane crash five months ago.

Massive brain, chest and spine injuries, not to mention a coma, kept the 76-year-old author in a Seattle hospital for four months. But Bach not only returned to his Orca Island home last month, he also recently finished the fourth part of the book about Jonathan, the seagull who marches to the beat of his own drum, reports Jennifer Sullivan in the Seattle Times.

Bach, a longtime pilot who was at the helm of the single-engine amphibian plane when it went down, says his ex-wife Sabryna Bach helped him to recover. He also credits her for helping him return to the book that became an international bestseller and was made into a movie, complete with a soundtrack by Neil Diamond, in 1973.

“Brain injuries affected his ability to walk, speak and perform the most basic of tasks,” writes Sullivan about Bach. “Until last month, [he] lived between the hospital and a nearby recovery center. By his side the entire time was Sabryna.”

“He saw that his intellect was untouched [by the crash],” says Sabryna in Sullivan’s story. “After that, [Bach] did a 180.”

The author mailed the completed fourth installment of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which he’d started before the crash, to his publisher a few weeks ago. In it, the seagull is dismissed by the rest of the flock, says Sullivan. “But, eventually, a message of hope comes through when Jonathan returns.”

Bach told Sullivan that the bird is “just there to make things a little more at ease … like Sabryna.”


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