The following is from Erik Simonson, Pressure-Drop.US After failing to recover remains, the Coast Guard abandoned the search on Monday.
1st On Scene Witness Report:
As reported by Noble Griswold, who was sailing in Sunday’s Vallejo race on his Beneteau Mooring’s SD E-ticket. Noble and crew had just finished the race and Nobel had put the boat on auto-pilot and lit the BBQ, headed back to Benicia when one of the crew pointed out the planes that were traversing the area. The crewmember is a pilot and was telling the other crew about the Korean War era fighter plane, a Hawker Sea Fury when the collision occurred directly overhead. Noble points out the had made a slight error during the race which cost him some time sailing, enough to miss 1st in class by a few seconds corrected over Gordie Nash’s Arcadia.(PHRF 5). Had they not made the tactical error, the would have been about 200 feet further up the bay.
“Both planes were traveling together, and it seems the Hawker plane suddenly veered and accelerated, with a glancing blow to the Cessna’s wing, which immediately fell off” The crippled cessna then did a broad arc and accelerated from what Nobel estimates from 150 mph to 250 mph.
“The plane plummeted into 12 feet of water with a straight shot, at that speed” Noble says. “The planes were about 700 feet above the water and took about 7 seconds before the water impact. The main fuselage landed about 200 feet away and other debris landed just 100′ away, Noble continues
Noble points out the collision occurred at 4:01 PM.
The crew, quickly doused the jib and left main up due to previous engine issues and prepared the lifesling in hopes of assisting any survivors. There were none.
In the aftermath, 4 to 6 additional boats responded to the scene and searched for anything. One of the items which was located was a backpack with a womans purse within, containing her ID and credit cards, the crew also found a pink makeup bag near by. The deceased was born in 1963. Other items found float were a males sneaker and what appeared to be a wallet, but the wallet sank before they could retrieve it.
One oddity that Nobel and crew noted was the Hawker did not circle, but merely altered course and speed, the flew off.
Nobel feels positive on the immediate response of the boating community, and how quickly the boats nearby responded. The San Rafael Sheriff and San Rafael Police boats were on scene with 5-10 minutes.
Although they pinpointed the location of impact, they could not immediately locate the aircraft. Noble locked the GPS on the location and handed it over to authorities. He’s had a busy day with conversation’s with local authorities and the FAA and reporters, and is still in a bit of a haze after witnessing something so tragic happen to close by…Noble is still trying to grasp with how something so pleasant, a late afternoon sail with good friends, some music and food can quickly turn so tragic, but finds comfort in the efforts made by all who assisted to help, if nothing else bring closure to those affected. He is also VERY glad he had the tactical error earlier, which cost him a pickle dish, but had he not been a tad slower, his boat and crew would have been almost exactly where the plane went down at time of impact…
Thank you very much,
The Pressure Drop Team
This article was syndicated from BLUE PLANET TIMES