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At about 11:30 this morning the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the US Coast Guard that there was an airplane in the water in Humboldt Bay. The Coast Guard indicated that the water in the bay was too shallow for their boats to reach the aircraft and they asked for the Sheriff’s Office’s assistance. Deputies were dispatched to the scene, approximately 1/2 mile east of Manila. The Coast Guard launched a helicopter and deployed a rescue swimmer. Two crewmen on an oyster barge from the Coast Seafoods Company saw the airplane go into the water and were able to reach the aircraft. They were able to assist the pilot (the only occupant), from the plane. The airplane sank shortly after the pilot was rescued.
The pilot, Glen Councilman, 78 of Eureka, sustained minor abrasions to his hand. Mr. Councilman had taken off from Murray Field and had intended to enjoy a quick flight and then land again at Murray Field. He reported that shortly after take off the engine of his Cessna 150 began to sputter and then quit. Mr. Councilman reportedly was able to make a emergency controlled landing in the bay, indicating that he saw a boat (the oyster barge) and choose to land near them believing they might be able to assist him.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the accident.