Pilot Films His Own Rescue As Plane Sinks Off the Coast of California
A single-engine propeller plane crashed into the ocean off the coast of Half Moon Bay, California on Tuesday. Thankfully, the two people on board not only survived the crash, but were also able to record their own rescue on video.
According to SFGate, the plane went down around 5:30 p.m. local time Tuesday. The Federal Aviation Administration said it went down for “unknown reasons.”
SFGate reported that the plane was actually flying alongside another aircraft at the time.
The pilot of the crashed plane, David Lesh, told KGO-TV the two planes took off together with the aim of taking images of the newly purchased (and now newly crashed) plane over the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay.
However, Lesh’s plane lost power somewhere along the way, forcing him to set it down in the water. Thankfully, he and his passenger were able to get out of the plane before it sank.
The pilot of the second plane, Owen Leipelt, called the Coast Guard immediately after the plane crashed into the water. He then picked up his phone to film the scene, and circled overhead until help arrived.
Once safely out of the plane, Lesh also took out his phone to capture the moment on video. He even filmed his new plane sinking below and his eventual rescue by the Coast Guard.
“I was probably 3,400 feet, did everything I could. Couldn't get the motor running and put it into the Pacific,” Lesh told NBC. “We skipped along the water for a few hundred feet and the impact was very minimal, it was not hard at all and we immediately opened the door and got out onto the wing.”
He noted that he and his passenger quickly took inventory of what was on the plane before exiting the aircraft.
“I knew we had about 20 or 30 seconds before it sunk,” he said.
According to the Coast Guard, neither Lesh nor his passenger received medical treatment. As to why the plane crashed, the FAA told SFGate the investigation could take up to a year to conclude.