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Investigators to seek cause of Maine crash that killed pilot, hurt 4

LOVELL, Maine -- A float plane that flipped over while landing on Kezar Lake, killing the pilot and injuring his four passengers, has been hauled out of the water to await inspection by safety specialists.

The National Transportation Safety Board will try to find out the cause of the accident that killed Joseph Soleri, 69, an experienced pilot, former Fryeburg selectman, and longtime manager of the town's Eastern Slopes Regional Airport.

The passengers in the single-engine Cessna 206 were Kevin Lamberson, 37, of North Yarmouth, his wife, Beth, 41, and their children, Lauren, 5, and Kyle, 3, WCSH-TV Portland, reported on its website.

Lauren was strapped in her seat after the fuselage sank into the water, but her mother managed to free her and bring her to the surface, said Mark Latti, spokesman for the Maine Warden Service. Lauren, who was airlifted to Maine Medical Center, was listed yesterday in fair condition. The three other family members suffered minor injuries. The single-engine Cessna 206 was landing on the 2,500-acre lake shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday when it flipped over about 300 yards from the western shore, prompting boaters and cottage owners to converge on the scene to offer help.

Adam Johnson said he arrived to find that the parents and son had gotten out of the plane but the daughter and the pilot were underwater, and Johnson tried to get her out.

"I couldn't get the buckle undone," he said. "I tried and tried and tried, and went down a couple of times and said 'I can't do it.' And the mother said, 'I can do it.' I gave her the mask and she went down and in two seconds came back up with the girl."

The plane was towed toward shore and a salvage crew later brought it onto land to await an inspection by the NTSB.