Downed Cessna hadengine leak, investigators say

A small plane carrying a pilot and an aerial photographer that crash-landed into San Francisco Bay earlier this month lost power after engine oil leaked through a crack in the Cessna's engine, investigators have determined.

The 19-year old single-engine plane crashed at about 1:50 p.m. into the water near the San Francisco end of the Bay Bridge on Sept. 10.

The two, who were working for Air Flight Service, were 1,500 feet in the air for about 30 minutes after departing from Santa Clara airport when the plane's only engine lost power, according to preliminary findings by NTSB investigators.

“There was a breach in the engine crank case,” air safety investigator Patrick Jones said. “There was something inside the engine crank case that wanted to come out. And it did.”

Commercial pilot Bruce Moody and passenger Matthew Barcelona were uninjured in the emergency landing. They were plucked from the buoyant Cessna by U.S. Coast Guard officials and taken to Yerba Buena Island.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the tail by the impact of the forces, according to documents.  It has been transported to storage for further investigation.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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