Plane recovered after crash in Redwood Shores

September 4, 2010 12:42:44 AM PDT
Dramatic audio released Friday reveals the last words from the control tower before a plane crashed after taking off from the San Carlos Airport Thursday.

The twin-engine plane went down in the Oracle lagoon off Twin Dolphin Drive in Redwood Shores. A crane lifted it to the shore Friday so the bodies inside could be removed.

"Clean Air 832 Bravo San Carlos, Runway three zero cleared for takeoff," the controller can be heard saying in the recording.

"As I first started moving, I heard a plane going into full throttle," witness Dan Harlan recalled.

Harlan had just got into his truck as the plane began spiraling down. He works for the receiving department of Oracle which is right across the street from the lagoon.

"These planes pass over the building all the time, but full throttle sounds different," Harlan said.

As Harlan poked his head out of the truck, he saw the plane crash into the lagoon. He did not know it, but the voice recorder on his mp3 player was on. It captured the roar of the engine during the plane's fatal descent.

"He just crashed in the water! Oh God please! He just crashed in the water. Oh my God. Oh my God," Harlan can be heard yelling.

The twin-engine Beech 65 Queen Air crashed around noontime Thursday. It was airborne for only about 30 seconds after taking off from San Carlos Airport, about one mile from the crash site. Witnesses say the plane began spiraling to the right then headed straight down into the water.

Inside the wreckage, was the plane's owner Robert Borrmann, president of R.E. Borrmann's Steel Co. in East Palo Alto and a decorated WWII pilot. Also in the wreckage was his pilot whose name has not been released.

The body of the pilot's girlfriend, 47-year-old Adelina Urbina Suarez of Daly City, was retrieved from the waters Thursday.

Late Friday morning, a boat carrying members of the San Mateo County Diving Team left the docks on the other side of the lagoon. Divers began tying giant airbags to the plane, slowly lifting it out of the water. They had a difficult time towing the wreckage because it kept getting stuck in the muddy waters.

The plane was finally towed to the dock where a crane lifted it out of the water.

"The plane will be recovered, taken to Sacramento where it will be stored until the NTSB arrives," said Sgt. James Toney of the Redwood City Police.

Based on the audio recordings, it is known that at least one of the two engines on the plane was still running when it crashed.

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