RICHMOND (CBS SF) — Crews continue to search San Pablo Bay for a pilot after two small planes collided on Sunday, sending one aircraft crashing into the water while the other safely reached its destination.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Loumania Stewart said early Monday that search teams have found no signs of the downed pilot after scouring the waters through the night. She said there are no immediate plans to suspend the search.
The collision Sunday afternoon involved a single-engine Cessna 210 and a single-engine Hawker Sea Fury TMK 20—a Korean War era-plane known as a Dreadnought.
Eric Johnson, who lives Point San Pablo yacht harbor, was an eyewitness and described the crash to KCBS.
“There were two small planes and they got too close together and clipped wings,” he said.
Johnson said the bay water is cold and that the currents can be treacherous.
“The Bay here is really shallow so it’s only going to be from six to 15 feet almost anywhere out here unless you hit the channel. If you hit the channel, it’s 30 to 50 feet.”
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the Cessna went into the bay and the Sea Fury’s pilot was able to land 40 minutes later at Eagle’s Nest Airport in the small Northern California city of Ione.
The occupants of the Sea Fury were not injured.
KCBS has also learned that the two pilot knew each other. The Sea Fury is a well-known plane that has appeared at many air shows including the “Pacific Coast Dream Machines” show on Sunday in Half-Moon Bay. The Cessna was the “chase plane” accompanied the Dreadnought, taking photos.
Both planes are owned by Sanders Aeronautics in Ione, Amador County where both were headed at the time of the collision.
The FAA and National Transportation Board are investigating.
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