Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Amphibian: Accident occurred September 17, 2016 in Clear Lake, Lake County, California

An amphibian aircraft with two people on board crashed Saturday morning into the waters of Clear Lake and spectators on hand for an air rally rushed to scene, pulling the two occupants to safety. The pilot and passenger, both men, escaped with what the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said were non-life threatening injuries.

A witness said one of the men appeared to have suffered a broken leg. The names of the pilot and passenger were not immediately available.

Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said in an email the crash occurred under “unknown circumstances.” He said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.

The plane that crashed was involved in the Clear Lake Seaplane Splash In, an annual seaplane rally open to the public, with festivities based in Lakeport, according to a description on the website of the Lakeport Main Street Association.

Sebastopol resident Jessica Kilcullen said she was on a boat in the lake with a friends and family watching the seaplane activity when they noticed an unusually large splash. They saw other boats travel in that direction and followed them to investigate.

“We just saw the tip of the plane straight up and down, bobbing in the lake,” Kilcullen said.

Kilcullen said spectators from other boats retrieved the people inside the plane. One of them appeared to have a severely broken leg, she said. The other had suffered several deep cuts to his face.

The seaplane event offered aerial demonstrations, music and more, according to the Lakeport Main Street Association. Lake County News reported that the annual gathering started in 1979.

The Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return calls about the crash and did not disclose what happened to the plane after the rescue.

Story, video and photo gallery:   http://www.pressdemocrat.com

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