Pilot Reportedly Buzzed Friend In Boat
spokesman says the pilot of the rented single-engine
Diamond DA40 Diamond Star that impacted Arizona's Lake Pleasant
Friday night was talking on a cell phone to a friend below him in a
boat while flying only 10 feet above the water.
The pilot reportedly buzzed a friend who was below him on a
boat, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said, before his plane crashed in
the lake, located northwest of Phoenix.
Gregor, who would not identify the pilot, said investigators are
assuming two people were aboard the plane -- which sank in
about 100 feet of water.
So he could identify the correct craft, the pilot evidently
asked his friend in the boat to shine a flashlight into the air,
reported the Associated Press. The plane then crashed into the lake
right in front of his friend, Gregor said Saturday.
"He saw the aircraft making a very sharp bank over the top of
him and he said the right wingtip hit the water," Gregor added. FAA
regulations require that a fixed-wing aircraft be at least 500 feet
above the water if there are boats present.
The plane broke up on impact with the water.
Maricopa County sheriff's deputies resumed a search for the
sunken wreckage Saturday and spotted what is believed to be the
fuselage at about noon using sonar in water that ranges from 70 to
120 feet deep, Lt. Paul Chagolla said.
However dive operations were suspended for the weekend, to be
resumed Monday because, Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Paul Chagolla said,
conditions were too dangerous for the divers.
the debris field is plotted, divers will descend to the wreck and
try to recover it and the bodies, Chagolla said.
"The process is slow because the lake is dark water, we use the
sonar to go and locate the large items, and then we send divers
down to feel around and try to bring them up," Chagolla said.
The plane was rented Friday evening from the Southwest Flight
Center in Scottsdale, said company President Gary Lewin.
Lewin declined to identify the man because of company policy,
but confirmed the pilot was a Scottsdale resident who was "a
well-versed and very accomplished pilot" with more than 10,000
hours of flight time, and an ATP rating.
"The FAA told me he was buzzing boaters on the lake and rocking
the wings back and forth in a motion to signal to a boat," Lewin
said. "The wing hit the water and the aircraft cart wheeled."
Lewin called the pilot's actions "a nonstandard procedure."
The sheriff's office responded to the 911 call after several
witnesses reported seeing a low-flying plane hit the water,