California pilot missing after crash in Chinese lake

Sept. 18, 2013 at 8:08 AM

SHENYANG, China, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A Californian pilot who twice had his license revoked went missing after his single-engine aircraft crashed into a lake in China, officials said.

David G. Riggs was practicing a aerobatic stunt in the rain Tuesday in which the landing gear of this Lancair 320 was supposed to skim the surface of a lake in Shenyang to producing a skiing effect, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The landing gear, or another part of the plane, caught the water by accident and the plane plunged into the lake.

Riggs' 18-year-old translator was killed instantly and the aircraft was recovered, but Riggs' body was missing as of Wednesday afternoon, the Times said.

"We are investigating the cause of the crash," said Xu Jiuqing of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, one of the organizers of the air show for which Riggs was practicing.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration revoked Riggs' pilot's license for one year after he made low-level passes over the Santa Monica Pier in 2008. His license was revoked again in November for illegally selling rides to the public without FAA approval, the Times said.

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