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Thu, Jun 14, 2007

Plane Wreckage Located By Divers In AZ Lake

Will Require Special Equipment To Raise

The submerged wreckage of a rented Diamond Star DA-40 that went down in Arizona's Lake Pleasant last month has been located. Using a special underwater camera, searchers located the wreckage Tuesday in more than 120 feet of water, according to the Arizona Republic.

Deputy Doug Matteson, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said special equipment will have to be brought in for recovery.

"It's not an easy project," Matteson said. "We need trained professionals down there to raise the aircraft."

As ANN reported, the FAA says the pilot, Clayton Lynn Whitney Jr, was talking on a cell phone to a friend below him in a boat while flying only 10 feet above the water.

The pilot reportedly buzzed the friend in the boat, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said, before his plane crashed in the lake. Both Whitney and his passenger, Tim Marshall, were lost in the crash.

So he could identify the correct craft, Whitney evidently asked his friend in the boat to shine a flashlight into the air, reported the Associated Press. The plane then crashed into the lake right in front of the friend, Gregor said.

"He saw the aircraft making a very sharp bank over the top of him and he said the right wingtip hit the water," Gregor added. FAA regulations require that a fixed-wing aircraft be at least 500 feet above the water if there are boats present.

The plane broke up on impact with the water.

According to Matteson, the tail section had been located the day before.

The friend in the boat, Eric Werner, 46, of Phoenix, told investigators Whitney said he was going to fly over the lake and wanted him to take a picture.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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