Coan Marina to cease operations

Posted on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Gary Giberson and his daughter at the controls of a 727 Boeing.

Gary Giberson and his daughter at the controls of a 727 Boeing.

When American Airline Flight # 77 slammed into the Pentagon on September 11 2001,  Coan Marina owner Gary Giberson was fishing.

As an American Airlines Boeing 767 pilot, Gary traded off flights that day so he could go off-shore and have some fun.

The flight he traded off was Flight #77 and Gary’s crew, along with pilot Charles “Chic” Burlingame, perished on that historic day.

Gary did not inform family and friends he and Captain Burlingame had made the switch, and those close to Gary assumed that he was on board flight 77; chaos ensued.

Gary has had more than one scrape with heart-stopping events — he recalled a non-stop flight from L.A. to Dulles Airport, where the aircraft had one of its two engines disintegrate in mid-air, causing a series of fast actions for an emergency landing.

This was three days after the events of 9/11, and during a bomb scare to boot.

What really did cause Gary a true heart related medical issue was not the responsibility of piloting a 160-200 million dollar aircraft with 181-409 people on board cruising at 529 miles per hour, it was losing his and his fiancé’ Mary Lewis’ dream of owning the one-time flourishing Coan Marina and enjoying a rural lifestyle.

Gary has since endured two recent episodes of atrial fibrillation which is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke, blood clots and heart failure.

Gary attributes his health issues to the stress he is currently enduring regarding the marina’s decline in business and the inability to meet the $6,400 monthly note payment which has forced the bank to foreclose the marina on August 15th.

Having purchased Coan Marina in September 14, 2005, Gary met Mary, and they set about planning to build up the marina by constructing 12 duplex homes (a total of 24 units).

 —See the full story in the August 6 edition of the Northumberland Echo!

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