FAA Watches as Plane is Recovered from Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake got its first good look this afternoon at the Cessna 210 that crashed into the lake around 10 a.m. on April 28, startling Westhaven residents living near the 100 block of Canteen.
Well over a dozen onlookers gathered at Boat Ramp #6 to watch divers recover the aircraft, which was fully submerged in 12 to 15 feet of water. Divers attached tethers to the downed plane then floated it to the surface so it could be towed from the Westhaven area back to the ramp.
The recovery operation began around 9 a.m. and lasted several hours. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Comal County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supervised the aircraft’s removal from Canyon Lake.
The National Safety and Transportation Board is officially in charge of the investigation.
FAA Air Worthiness Inspector Brian Fricker said he was there to watch the recovery, take videos and photographs, and note the plane’s overall condition as it was removed from the water.
Louisiana-based diver Tommy Cook described Canyon Lake’s green water as a “treat.”
“Lots of time we have zero visibility,” he said.
The Crash Itself
The unnamed pilot and passenger took off from Midland International Air & Space Port last week and were flying under visual flight rules to New Braunfels Regional Airport when they encountered low clouds near Canyon Dam.
Fricker said they contacted the control tower at San Antonio International Airport for instructions on making an instrument approach into New Braunfels but air controllers lost contact with the pilot or may not even have had time to respond before the plane disappeared from radar.
Westhaven resident Skip Smith said in an earlier interview that eyewitnesses said the plane appeared to be flying low over FM 2673 before it lost power, turned and crashed into the lake.
The plane’s pilot and passenger managed to swim safely to shore but had to be helped up the rocky terrain to a waiting ambulance by Westhaven residents.
This story was reported by Stephanie Johnson and Outdoors Editor and Chief Photographer Karla Held.