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Crane lifts small plane from pond at Painted Desert Golf Course

Crane lifts small plane from pond at Painted Desert Golf Course (Kelsey Thomas | KSNV)

A crane lifted a small plane from a pond at the Painted Desert Golf Course in the northwest valley on Friday.

The FAA continues its investigation into why the pilot made an emergency landing into the water.

The landing was reported just before 6 p.m. on Thursday at the course located near U.S. 95 and Ann Road.

Tom Morcom sat on a nearby retaining wall to watch crews slowly pull the twin-engine onto the fairway.

"I thought they’d have scuba gear on but they dived in just like you or me. I was shocked,” said Morcom.

Slow and steady was the name of the game.

"You don’t want to ruin it anymore,” Morcom continued.

Virgil Green took pictures as the crews worked to bring the plane to higher ground.

"This is something you don’t see every day. Probably don’t see in a lifetime,” said Green.

RELATED | Small plane crashes near U.S. 95 and Ann Road

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue says the two men onboard the plane survived and were rushed to UMC with minor injuries.

An official cause of the crash has not been released but a spokesperson with the FAA says the plane was in route to the North Las Vegas airport when the pilot reported losing an engine.

Sources tell us this plane is affiliated with the Airwork flight school. News 3 reached out to the school but the owner declined to comment.

For 40 years, Len Guerin with EGA Aviation has repaired and inspected countless aircraft.

"In this case, it sounds like they did everything correctly,” explained Guerin. "Pilots are trained for these types of emergencies, to understand them, to be able to react with the proper steps, to bring down the aircraft safely."

It’s still unclear what went wrong.

"There’s a number of possibilities or reasons. It could be fuel starvation. It could be fuel management. It could be a mechanical issue,” explained Guerin.

In other words, the pilot may have run out of fuel, switched to an empty tank, or experienced engine failure.

FAA investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened.

The back nine holes of the Painted Desert Golf Course are currently closed. Golfers are still taking advantage of the first nine holes.

The course is hoping to open the back nine holes by Saturday.


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