PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — A pilot was killed and two other passengers were injured when a small plane crashed into the Baylands Lagoon near the Palo Alto airport Tuesday morning, authorities said.
The crash took place at around 11 a.m. about 40 feet offshore of the airport. The plane settled in a few feet of water, the wings above the water.
The plane was piloted by a 60-year-old volunteer from Angel Flight West. The Los Angeles-based non-profit organization provides free air travel for children and adults with serious medical conditions and other compelling needs.
According to the group, the pilot had flown a patient and her mom from Redding to Palo Alto for a medical appointment at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
“When the fire department got here, we were told there were two passengers on the wing of the plane,” said Deputy Chief Geo Blackshire of the Palo Alto Fire Department.
Family members identified the two surviving passengers as Nancy Dellamaria and her daughter Chloe, who was able to walk to an ambulance. Her mother was rushed to the Stanford Trauma Center on a stretcher.
The pilot’s name has not been released to the public.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said a single-engine Mooney M20 crashed while the pilot was executing a go-around at Palo Alto Airport around 11:10 a.m. The plane came to rest in a pond about 1/4 mile off the departure end of Runway 13.
“As I understand it, it’s not confirmed yet, the airplane made a landing attempt, it bounced. The pilot then opted to do what’s called a go-around – just another take off, to climb out and come back around for another landing attempt and it’s supposedly during that go around that the accident occurred,” said NTSB Air Safety Investigator Michael Huhn.
According to Air Traffic Controller recordings, the pilot was not familiar with the airfield.
Huhn said winds were very light at the time. He’s hoping instrumentation on the plane will detail the moments before the crash.
“[We] May be able to get radar data. There may be some GPS position data which would show a flight trajectory and speeds,” he said.
Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
NTSB investigators are expected to return to the scene Wednesday morning to recover the plane. The agency expects to have a preliminary report within the next 10 days.
Angel Flight West said it has been providing charity flights for 35 years and this is the first accident involving one of its passengers.