James Dalmer, the pilot whose plane went missing over the Big Thicket last week, was found alive yesterday, wandering the woods near ETU campus. The proud owner of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Dalmer had flown the skies above East Texas for over twenty years, prior to his disappearance.
“I’m told that I’ve been missing for six days, but I don’t know what happened,” said Dalmer. “They tell me my plane crashed in the woods somewhere, but I don’t remember crashing. One minute, I was in my plane, flying over the Big Thicket, like I’ve done so many times, and the next I’m talking to a kid who’s asking if I’m okay and need help.”
Henry Watkins, freshman Biology major at ETU, was the student who first spotted Dalmer. “He came stumbling out of the trees, looking dirty and ragged, with a bunch of scrapes on his arms and dried blood on his face. I asked him if he was alright, and he rambled on for the first couple of minutes about something knocking him out of the sky and chasing him through the woods. There was this crazy look in his eyes, as if he’d been running for his life. Then all of a sudden, he started calming down, asking where he was and how he got there. It really freaked me out.”
Watkins called campus authorities for help, and Dalmer was transported via ambulance to Golan County Memorial Hospital for medical treatment.
“Mr. Dalmer suffered from an extremely severe case of dehydration, one of the worst I’ve encountered,” said Doctor Ralph Heimstetten, the physician who attended Dalmer. “His confusion and memory loss are most likely attributed to the lack of food and water. I’m actually surprised he didn’t sustain more critical injuries during the crash.”
“You know,” said Dalmer, “I can’t count the number of times I’ve flown over the Big Thicket in that Cessna without any problems of any kind. But, I guess there’s a first time for everything.”