A Carlsbad boy underwent brain surgery after he was struck in a plane crash on the beach Saturday.
Nicholas Baer had no idea he was in the path of danger on Carlsbad beach near Cannon Road.
He was walking back from the water after body surfing and to his left, a plane with engine trouble was flying low along the sand.
As the pilot reached the area where Nicholas was standing, the plane flipped over and landed upside down, striking the 12-year-old boy in the head.
"Nicholas was pretty much at the end of that plane's journey," the boy's mother Janice Baer said Monday. "Somehow he was in that area at the time, so I think he's a miracle dude."
Janice said she learned of the accident when a family friend called her. She admits she was having trouble connecting the dots between a plane crash and her son being injured. When she heard, "I think he got hit in the head by the propeller" she dropped the phone.
Bill Baer said he and his wife rushed to the beach and were able to join their son as emergency personnel loaded him in the ambulance.
Nicholas suffered a concussion and underwent emergency brain surgery at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.
"He's had a fantastic recovery," said neurosurgeon Hal Meltzer, M.D. "He did have to have surgery the night he came in. The surgery could not have gone better."
[G] Small Plane Carrying Banner Crashes into Beach
His parents say Nicholas doesn't remember the moment of impact.
"He's been fairly quiet about it," Bill said. "I think a lot of it, he's just tired. He wants to go home."
"Watching some of the videos, it's kind of surreal for him," he added.
FAA officials say the plane lost power before the crash. It's registered to Air Ads Inc., based out of Gillespie Field in El Cajon.
The owner of the plane told NBC7 the pilot had 700 hours of training and the plane had just been serviced and checked out okay.
The pilot was uninjured.
Baer will attend seventh grade at Valley Middle School. Some of his classmates shaved their heads as a show of support.
The gesture meant a lot, according to Nicholas' parents.
"He was so mad about his bald head. I mean that's what makes the sweetness of his little buddy shaving their heads. It's just wonderful," Janice Baer said.