new aircraft wreck at White Point

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Posted by on November 26, 2006 at 12:42:40:

Experimental airplane crashes off San Pedro, killing one

Light aircraft sank in 60 feet of water off White Point.

A man died Saturday when a light aircraft he was piloting crashed in the water off White Point in San Pedro, authorities said.

The small plane -- an experimental two-passenger single-engine Russian-made craft -- hit the water about 400 yards from shore at 1:20 p.m., said Los Angeles County Fire Supervisor Andre Gougis.

The plane quickly sank in about 60 feet of water, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus.

The body of the pilot was found floating nearby. Officials said he had been alone on the plane.

One witness told a television reporter that he saw the plane crash.

"The plane was coming straight down, like it couldn't pull out of a steep dive, and it just hit the water," Rick Wadlow of the Palos Verdes Peninsula told KABC Channel 7. "Real hard impact. Next thing you know, spray coming out. Stopped the car, got out, looked over to see what was going on, and it was a disaster."

A wallet was found and officials were in the process of contacting the man's family. His name was not released Saturday night. Officials said the plane originated from Long Beach Airport.

Calls to Long Beach Airport officials were not returned.

Divers continued to look for the remains of the craft late Saturday. At sunset about 10 boats were trying to locate the plane so the National Transportation Safety Board could investigate the crash.

They will take up the search for the wreckage today.

Many ultralight models and experimental kits are certified by the FAA, Fergus said. But officials were unsure late Saturday as to exactly what kind of aircraft the experimental Russian plane was.

"We can't find any background on it," said Los Angeles County Fire Department Supervisor Sam Padilla.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

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