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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Plane Crashes into Redwood City Lagoon Near Oracle; Woman Killed

Posted By on Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 1:20 PM

click to enlarge A Beechcraft BE 65 like this one is currently submerged in a Redwood City lagoon, and at least one passenger is dead - MALCOLM SMITH
  • Malcolm Smith
  • A Beechcraft BE 65 like this one is currently submerged in a Redwood City lagoon, and at least one passenger is dead
At least one person is dead following a small plane's plunge into a Redwood Shores lagoon. This, by the way, is the very same lagoon inundated by 50,000 gallons of raw sewage last week.

A 911 call was received at 11:53 this morning that the plane hit a wide section of the lagoon in the Redwood Shores neighborhood, a stone's throw from Oracle headquarters. The plane took off from San Carlos airport and was heading northwest. It crashed very shortly after takeoff.



Firefighters sent swimmers to inspect the wreckage, said Malcolm Smith, a spokesman for Redwood City. They spotted a dead woman in her 40s outside the fuselage, but have been unable to locate any other passengers, living or dead.

"The water is very murky and they could not see into the cockpit," said Smith, who couldn't recall a plane hitting the lagoon in the last decade. He added that the water is only six or seven feet deep in the vicinity of the plane.

The San Mateo County Sheriff's dive team is currently on the scene. More as we know more.

click to enlarge A rescue boat approaches the barely perceptible wingtip of the small plane that crashed in Redwood City this morning - MALCOLM SMITH
  • Malcolm Smith
  • A rescue boat approaches the barely perceptible wingtip of the small plane that crashed in Redwood City this morning
Update, 2 p.m.: San Mateo County coroner's office officials are on the scene -- as are officials from San Carlos airport. No word on the identity of the victim or if additional victims or survivors have turned up. The case stands to be transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration and/or National Transportation Safety Board.

Update, 2:10 p.m.: Smith says the dive team has made an initial pass and is now on shore to get more equipment and commence a more thorough inspection. When asked if there was a chance survivors had gotten out of the plane and left the lagoon before citizens in boats initially floated out to the plane, Smith said there is "no chance. Our firefighters were there by then." So, unless the deceased woman was flying solo, it stands to reason that additional passengers are in that lagoon -- and not alive.

Update, 2:40 p.m.:
Wired.com's Jess McNally points out that, apart from being the site of a large sewage spill and, now, a fatal plane crash, the Redwood Shores lagoon is also the home of the Stanford rowing and sailing programs

Update, 2:59 p.m.:
The Chronicle is reporting that 91-year-old Robert Borrmann, the founder of East Palo Alto's R.E. Borrmann's Steel Co., was aboard the plane, along with a pilot and the pilot's girlfriend. Borrmann's colleagues say he was a B-17 pilot during World War II and hired a pilot after he grew too old to fly.

Update, 3:05 p.m.: FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the plane was a 1961 model Beechcraft BE 65. It crashed only 30 seconds after takeoff -- and there didn't appear to be any radio communication prior to the accident. No flight plan was filed -- nor was one necessary. "When it's clear outside and you're just goofing around, you don't need a flight plan," says Lunsford.

Update, 4:15 p.m.: Two more bodies have been discovered within the wreckage of the plane -- presumably those of Robert Borrmann and the pilot. They will not be removed until the wreckage is lifted from the lagoon.

H/T on video   |   NBC Bay Area

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more

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