Co-Pilot Can't Recall Kentucky Crash

This photo provided by a friend of the Polehinke family shows James Polehinke in an undated photo. Polehinke, who survived the crash of Comair Flight 5191 on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006, has asked family members from his hospital bed "Why did God do this to me?," but he hasn't mentioned the crash, a close family friend said Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2006. (AP Photo/Friend of Polehinke family via Lexington Herald-Leader)
AP Photo
Doctors have amputated the left leg of a co-pilot whose plane crashed on takeoff after it turned onto the wrong runway, and he does not remember the accident that killed 49 people, his family said Monday.

James Polehinke, the lone survivor of the Aug. 27 crash at the Blue Grass Airport, faces several additional surgeries to repair fractures, one involving his spinal cord, the family said.

Polehinke "does not remember anything," the family said in a statement. He is asking about his family and dogs and wants to go home.

"He is more wakeful at times and more communicative, but is still not completely lucid and currently has no recollection of the accident," the statement said.

Polehinke remains in serious condition at University of Kentucky Hospital.

The family said he should be able to begin rehabilitation after the surgeries, but he is not expected to be released for several weeks, university spokesman Jay Blanton said.

A police officer pulled Polehinke from the charred wreckage of ComAir Flight 5191 after the plane struggled to get airborne and crashed into a field. According to federal investigators, the flight's captain, Jeffrey Clay, taxied the jet onto the wrong runway before Polehinke took the controls for takeoff.

The sole air traffic controller on duty had cleared the plane to takeoff from the longer runway, then turned away to perform other duties and did not see the crash.

Also Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board said toxicology testing on both pilots detected no traces of alcohol or illegal drugs.

An over-the-counter decongestant was detected at a low level in Polehinke's blood, it said. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the substance was not on the agency's banned list.