Crews to retrieve plane from lake; 2 men still missing

AP News
Posted: Aug 29, 2016 5:18 PM
Crews to retrieve plane from lake; 2 men still missing

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A small plane that crashed in Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans had been chartered by a couple taking an aerial tour of the city when it hit a rainstorm and went down, an airport director said Monday.

A woman survived Friday night's crash but two men, the pilot and another passenger, remained unaccounted for.

The plane crashed about 1,000 feet from New Orleans Lakefront Airport. Ben Morris, director of Lakefront Airport, said the woman escaped from the wreckage.

"There happened to be a boat right near there that scooped her up," Morris said. "She's fine. In fact she was out here yesterday."

Morris held little hope that the two men survived. The identities of the woman and the missing men were not released.

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into the cause of the crash. Morris said salvage of the wreckage was expected to begin by Tuesday morning.

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The New Orleans Fire Department said divers found the wreckage Sunday afternoon.

First reports from the New Orleans Fire Department said the plane was on a training exercise but Morris and the Coast Guard said Monday it was on a tour.

Morris said the pilot had extensive flight experience.

Lake Pontchartrain is a brackish tidal basin covering about 630 square miles but averaging only 10 to 15 feet deep.