Pilot records plane crash into ocean off Northern California

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Posted at 2:17 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 17:18:13-04

(KGTV) - Dramatic video shows how a plane crash and rescue of the pilot and passenger unfolded off the coast of Northern California.

David Lesh purchased his Beechcraft Bonanza a few weeks ago and asked a fellow pilot to record aerial video from a second plane.

“We were gonna go fly over the Golden Gate bridge, and do a whole bay tour... obviously didn't make it there,” Lesh said.

During the flight, Lesh lost all power five miles off Half Moon Bay Harbor.

“I would guess that we probably didn't have much more than maybe a minute or two from the time I figured something was wrong to the time we hit the water,” said Lesh.

Lesh’s friend Owen Leipelt was piloting the second plane and watched as Lesh went down.

“At one point I lost them. I had been circling and I couldn't see them anymore and David called me on the phone as he was bobbing in the water and he turned me around and he guided me right to where he was,” said Leipelt.

Lesh and his passenger Kayla climbed on the wing, eventually bobbing in the ocean after the plane sank.

The U.S. Coast Guard was stationed in nearby El Granada and was guided to the crash site thanks to Leipelt’s position.

“What was truly amazing about tonight was there was another aircraft on-scene that quickly responded, contacted air traffic control who knew to contact airborne Coast Guard asset and get us on-scene quickly,” said Lt. Commander Joshua Murphy.

The Coast Guard team got Lesh and Kayla safely to Stanford Hospital for an evaluation.

Lesh blamed bad gasoline for the engine failure, the Associated Press reported.

KGO contributed to this report.