Plane crashes into ocean near Cambria; two people rescued

UPDATE: Son recalls rescue from sinking plane »

UPDATE: A father and his adult son were rescued from a sinking plane that crashed into the ocean off the North Coast on Sunday, authorities said.

The single-engine Cessna 185 was heading to Canada when the engine stalled, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in the sea around 3:45 p.m., Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

A man in his 70s and his son in his 30s were rescued, Petty Officer Rachel Polish said. No other information on the two was released.

The plane got caught in a kelp field in the water, and it sank after the rescue, Kenitzer said.

The aircraft was registered to AirCapital Nevada Inc. of Carson City, Nevada. An after-hours call to the business was not immediately returned.

Original story: Two people were rescued off a sinking plane that crashed Sunday afternoon into the Pacific Ocean north of Cambria.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Rachel Polish said a distress call from the GPS unit on the Cessna airplane was received by the Coast Guard at 3:06 p.m. “Because they had this, we knew with very close proximity where the plane had gone down,” she said. Without the GPS — and the fact it was properly registered with federal authorities — “it would have been incredibly difficult to find them so quickly,” Polish said. As it was, rescuers were able to pinpoint the plane’s location within minutes of getting the distress call, she said.

While Polish did not know the specific location, she said the plane crashed somewhere between Big Sur and Cambria, about a mile offshore.

The plane’s engine stalled while in flight and that caused the crash, authorities said.

Coast Guard helicopters were sent from San Francisco and Los Angeles, and boats from Monterey and Morro Bay were dispatched as well.

Some civilian aircraft as well as a CHP plane also circled over the downed plane and were able to relay its location to the Coast Guard, Polish said.

She said a rescue swimmer was on board the helicopter from Air Station San Francisco who ultimately saved the Cessna’s occupants, but she did not know whether that person had to jump into the ocean and swim to the plane to help the pair.

The rescued passengers were lifted into the rescue helicopter about 5:20 p.m. and were flown to Paso Robles Airport, where they declined medical attention.

Polish did not have any information about the Cessna’s occupants.

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