RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California pilot whose body was recovered in the wreckage days after his plane crashed into San Francisco Bay following a midair collision with another small plane has been identified, authorities said Thursday.
The body of 33-year-old David Everett Plumb, of Rocklin, California, was found Wednesday, said Contra Costa County Sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee. An autopsy to determine Plumb’s exact cause of death was underway Thursday morning and findings could be released later in the day, Lee said.
Plumb’s identification comes a day after a marine salvage crew retrieved his body and the fuselage of his Cessna 210 and three days after his single-engine plane crashed into the water.
National Transportation Safety Board lead investigator Howard Plagens said the midair collision occurred Sunday afternoon when the pilot of a vintage single-engine Hawker Sea Fury TMK 20 pulled up to the left side of Plumb’s Cessna. The Sea Fury’s pilot said he saw the Cessna going down but did not see it crash.
The surviving pilot immediately focused on trying to fly his own plane to land safely, Plagens said. The Hawker suffered tail damage.
Meanwhile, the NTSB plans to investigate the recovered wreckage Thursday. A preliminary report could come as early as next week, Plagens said.
Using an underwater camera, a San Francisco police boat found the fuselage of the Cessna on Tuesday afternoon in about 13 feet of water about 1 1/2 miles off the Richmond shoreline east of San Francisco. Diving crews followed up to confirm the find.
It was not immediately clear why the planes were flying so close together during the passing maneuver. Witnesses at Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor said the Cessna spiraled out of control and crashed.
The Sea Fury’s pilot landed at Eagle’s Nest Airport in the small city of Ione in Amador County, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said. The Sea Fury’s occupants — a husband and wife — weren’t hurt.
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.
FAA records indicate the Sea Fury, a vintage British fighter plane, is registered to Sanders Aeronautics Inc. in Ione. The family-owned company specializes in aircraft restoration, and brothers Dennis and Brian Sanders are avid air racers.
The company declined to comment Thursday.