Passport, flight log located near Gilroy plane
Bay City News Service
GILROY (BCN) - Authorities working to extricate a small
airplane that crashed into a sewage tank at a Gilroy wastewater
treatment facility Monday afternoon have located a flight log
and a Japanese passport near the area of the wreckage, the Federal
Aviation Administration reports.
According to FAA spokeswoman Diana Joubert, the submerged airplane
is believed to be the same twin-engine aircraft reported missing
by the San Jose flight school Nice Air at about 5:30 p.m. Monday.
The missing plane had departed Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose
at around 1 p.m. Monday and was scheduled to return by about 5
p.m., Joubert said.
A flight instructor and two students - all of whom were Japanese
nationals - were reportedly on board the missing plane, according
However, early this morning the missing plane and the plane involved
in Monday's sewage treatment facility crash could not be confirmed
as the same, Joubert said.
According to police, it could be much later today before crews
are able to sufficiently drain the sewage tank enough to identify
the aircraft or the passengers believed to be inside.
"We don't know how big the plane is," said Gilroy police
Sgt. Kurt Svardal. "It's a sewage treatment tank, so the
water isn't clear. You can see some wing parts near the surface."
Around 4 p.m. today, authorities received a report that an airplane
had possibly crashed in southern Santa Clara County, the sergeant
Svardal said that during the initial search, staff at the South
County Regional Wastewater Authority's treatment plant at 1500
Southside Drive in Gilroy noticed damage to railings at the top
of one of five holding tanks.
Upon further examination, it was clear an airplane had landed
in one of the tanks, Svardal said. He said each tank was 20 feet
deep and 25 feet in diameter.
According to Joubert, air traffic controllers had not received
any distress calls from a pilot Monday afternoon and that another
pilot had reported to the air traffic control center in Oakland
that a plane was going down near Gilroy at about 4 p.m.
Investigators from the FAA are expected to examine the crash
site later today, Joubert said.
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