RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) — A federal transportation safety official arrived Monday in Northern California to investigate a collision between two small planes that sent one crashing into San Francisco Bay.
The investigator will be interviewing the pilot of a plane that made it back to land and reviewing the pilots’ backgrounds, National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Terry Williams said.
The collision occurred Sunday near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and involved a single-engine Cessna 210 and a single-engine Hawker Sea Fury TMK 20.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the Cessna went into the bay, and the Sea Fury’s pilot landed at Eagle’s Nest Airport in the small city of Ione in Amador County.
Authorities say the Sea Fury’s occupants — a husband and wife –were uninjured. It was unclear how many people were in the Cessna.
U.S. Coast Guard helicopters and vessels were conducting search patterns in the bay Monday morning, Lt. Joshua Dykman of the U.S. Coast Guard said.
Search teams found no signs of the downed pilot after scouring San Pablo Bay through the night.
Amador County firefighters and medics sent to the Ione airport were not needed because the pilot and passenger in the Sea Fury — a husband and wife — were not injured, county Undersheriff Jim Wegner said.
Both planes had departed from Eagle’s Nest Airport to participate in the Pacific Coast Dream Machines, an annual festival at Half Moon Bay Airport that features a variety of planes, motorcycles and cars. Both planes left Half Moon Bay, about 20 miles south of San Francisco, and were on their return flight to Ione.
Witnesses at Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor told the San Francisco Chronicle that the Cessna spiraled out of control and crashed into the choppy water.
Debris was found in the bay after the collision, Stewart said.
Wegner wouldn’t discuss damage to the Sea Fury, citing the ongoing investigation by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.
FAA records indicate the Sea Fury, a vintage British fighter plane, is registered to Sanders Aeronautics Inc. in Ione. A man who answered the phone at the company’s listed number declined to comment.
Sanders Aeronautics’ website said the family-run company specializes in aircraft restoration, and brothers Dennis and Brian Sanders are avid air racers.