Search called off for missing plane

A photo of the plane that crashed in Richardson Bay on Friday. Two people were rescued from the plane by nearby boaters. (Photo by Tex Dworkin)
July 3, 2011 10:52:04 AM PDT
A search for a sea plane that capsized while taxiing in Richardson Bay was called off this afternoon after divers and police agencies were unable to locate the plane, according to Sausalito police.

A dive company will continue the search tomorrow with the help of a sonar-equipped vessel, said Lt. Kurtis Skoog. No signs of leaking oil or fuel have been seen in the water.

The Lake LA-4-200 float plane sank Friday shortly before 7:30 p.m. south of Horizon's Restaurant in Sausalito.

Police believe the pilot, Richard Parasol, 75, of Mill Valley, was taxiing at a high rate of speed when the plane inadvertently became airborne after crossing over a wave, Skoog said. When it came down, water began coming in through the door, causing it to sink.

Parasol and a passenger, James Whitbread, 60, of Larkspur, were both rescued by good Samaritans aboard a nearby boat.

The plane is submerged beneath an estimated 20 to 40 feet of water.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash. Because there were no injuries or structural damage to the plane and because the plane was taxiing when it crashed, federal authorities will not be investigating.

However, police will consult with the Federal Aviation Administration once the investigation is concluded to determine if Parasol violated any rules or regulations, Skoog said.


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