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The Latest: Pilot blames bad gas in California plane crash

August 21, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on a plane rescue off the Northern California coast (all times local):

11 a.m.

The pilot of a small plane that malfunctioned says he believes bad gasoline forced him to ditch the aircraft into the ocean off the Northern California coast.

David Lesh says Wednesday he had siphoned particulate matter out of the gasoline but doesn’t think he got all of it out.

The 34-year-old pilot says he had purchased the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza propeller plane nearly three months ago for more than $200,000 and then spent about $40,000 for upgrades.

He was taking it on its first real flight for an aerial photo shoot Tuesday in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco.

He says he and his passenger, a longtime friend, were stung by jellyfish and suffered potential hypothermia as they waited for a Coast Guard rescue helicopter.


7:32 a.m.

An aerial photo shoot off the Northern California coast turned into a rescue drama when one of two small aircraft flying together malfunctioned and the pilot ditched it into the ocean.

The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza propeller plane went down Tuesday evening in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco.

The pilot of the second plane quickly reported the crash to the Coast Guard and circled overhead.

A rescue helicopter hoisted the downed plane’s uninjured pilot and passenger out of the water.

Pilot David Lesh tells KGO-TV the flight was aimed at making images of his newly purchased plane over the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay.

Instead, the plane lost power and Lesh had to set it down and he and his friend ended up in the water.

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