Plane crash author 'improving'

Best-selling author Richard Bach is improving, but still in a serious condition, after his light aircraft crashed.

The 76-year-old Jonathan Livingston Seagull author suffered a head injury and a broken shoulder after his single-engined aircraft clipped power lines about three miles west of Friday Harbour Airport in Washington state on Friday afternoon.

He was taken to Harbourview Medical Centre in Seattle, where a nursing supervisor said he remained in a serious condition.

Bach's son James said his father had not been able to say anything because he had a tube down his throat, but was responding to doctors and people around him and he had good cognitive function. "He clearly is lucid and that's the most important thing with the head injury, that he's got his mind," Mr Bach said. "We think it's a big improvement and we're hoping that this recovery will continue to be swift. We're happy there are no complications."

He said he did not know how long his father would remain in the hospital.

The elder Bach, an avid pilot, was flying alone on his way to visit a friend on San Juan Island when the plane went down.

The author's best known work is Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a short fable published in 1970 about a seagull seeking to rise above the dreariness of his flock. The simply-crafted book rose to No 1 for several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Bach, who has flown aircraft all his adult life, often touched on his experience in the cockpit of his beloved plane in his writings, many of which are inspirational in nature and delve into themes of self-discovery and creativity.

His other popular works include Illusions: The Adventures of A Reluctant Messiah, a mystical story of a Midwestern barnstorming pilot's quest for self-discovery.

He moved to Washington state's remote San Juan Islands more than 20 years ago, living on Orcas Island.