Northwest NEWS

April 1, 2002

Features

Coast Guardsman witnesses plane crash

by Roald Bendixen,
   U.S. Coast Guard
   I was working on my computer and facing away from the windows when I heard a low yeaoooo-kind of a roar, like the sound you hear when a high-powered propeller aircraft pulls out of a dive.
   Having been sensitized to mis-located, random aircraft near my building, I looked out and saw a large, multi-engined, silver plane in a shallow dive to the left (south) with right wing low, passing the TODD Shipyard dry-dock, descending.
   At this time I was looking down on it at its 7 o'clock attitude; we're on the 35th floor.
   The plane continued to proceed toward West Seattle, over Elliott Bay, begin a right turn which brought it sub-parallel to the Elliott Bay shoreline of West Seattle. It straightened out, continued to descend and splashed down in front of Salty's restaurant, just short of a multi-lane, wide boat ramp.
   At no time that I was watching did the (aircraft) try to evade, jinx up or do anything other than continue in a controlled approach to a water landing. Just before it landed/splashed down I shouted 'NO!' and called my office mates.
   I called the SAR desk at the Command Center and reported the "plane down."
   Right afterwards I grabbed my binocs and saw the aircraft floating high in the water, wing tops exposed, all the windows well above water and a slew of "rescue" boats heading to the incident. That's it.
   I would have called ... the TV (stations); however, (they) would have mispronounced and misspelled my name. Also, (they) would have probably said I worked for the Navy ...
   This report was sent via e-mail.