A pilot of a World War II-era plane died this afternoon when his aircraft went nose first into the shores of San Leandro Bay in the city of Alameda, a spokeswoman at Oakland International Airport said.
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The plane took off from one of the airport's north-field runways at about 3:30 p.m. when something went wrong, and the single-engine Navion aircraft crashed into the water's edge of the harbor, spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.
Paramedics from Oakland's fire department were among the first to respond to the crash in a single ambulance, and the pilot was pronounced dead shortly afterward, Barnes said.
No one knows why the plane crashed, and the man who died has not yet been identified.
"We're just really sorry for what happened here," Barnes said. "It's a very somber mood."
The Navion plane that crashed is a five-seat aircraft built in the U.S. in 1947, Barnes said.
The plane, which originally took off from the airport's Runway 33, was found with its nose in the ground and tail jutting out over the water. The pilot was found dead inside, she said.
Federal Aviation Administration officials responded to the crash along with Oakland police and fire departments. National Transportation Safety Board officials plan to lead the investigation.
Operations at the airport were not impacted by the crash.
"We have staff here, and we're here to assist and do whatever we can," Barnes said.