David Lesh and his passenger survived a plane crash off the California coast. Picture: Supplied.
David Lesh and his passenger survived a plane crash off the California coast. Picture: Supplied.

Pair laugh, take selfies after plane crash

A plane crash is usually no laughing matter.

For David Lesh and his friend, though, sinking their plane off the Californian coast was an opportune time to kick back, have a few laughs, take some selfies in the water, and wait for help to arrive.

Not even being stung by jellyfish as they waited could dampen their mood.

David Lesh and his friend after a plane crash off the Californian coast. Picture: Supplied
David Lesh and his friend after a plane crash off the Californian coast. Picture: Supplied

Extraordinary footage from the crash taken by Lesh's friend, pilot Owen Leipelt, shows Lesh's Beechcraft Bonanza light aircraft fail and hit the water off Half Moon Bay.

Leipelt continued to circle above the crash taking footage and made a call to air traffic control to alert them of the incident.

Lesh, a skier and owner of a ski apparel company, also took footage on his phone as he and his female passenger treaded water for around 40 minutes, and "jellyfish were stinging us the entire time we were in there," he told NBC.

 

The tail of David Lesh’s plane that crashed off the Californian coast. Picture: Supplied.
The tail of David Lesh’s plane that crashed off the Californian coast. Picture: Supplied.

Lesh acted quickly when he realised at 3400 feet that the engine had cut out. "I couldn't get the motor running and put it into the Pacific," he said.

"We skipped along the water for a few hundred feet and the impact was very minimal, it was not hard at all and we immediately opened the door and got out onto the wing."

 

David Lesh and his passenger after their plane crashed off the Californian coast. Picture: Supplied
David Lesh and his passenger after their plane crashed off the Californian coast. Picture: Supplied

In the twenty or thirty seconds after the vessel hit the water, Lesh had just enough time to grab his phone and keys before the plane sank. It got cold in the water after about 20 minutes, he said, but Lesh and his friend kept smiling.

Leipelt, meanwhile, who had departed Reid-Hillview airport in San Jose in tandem with Lesh to take photos of Lesh's new plane, tried to quell his panic.

 

The female passenger in the plane that crashed off the Californian coast. Picture: Supplied.
The female passenger in the plane that crashed off the Californian coast. Picture: Supplied.

"Your heart sinks when you hear, "Mayday, I have no power". It's something you don't want to hear, and it takes a second to kick in," he told KTVU.

He couldn't see Lesh for around ten minutes after the plane went down. Leipelt said he has 'never been so relieved in my life to hear him on the phone' when Lesh called him 10 minutes later.


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