Search area expanded…US team “may not appear”

SHENYANG, Sept.19 (Xinhua)– Rescuers are expanding their search for a missing U.S. pilot on Thursday, though they said the pilot was unlikely to be found alive two days after his stunt plane crashed into a lake in northeast China’s Liaoning Province.

The accident occurred around 1 p.m. on Tuesday when a Lancier aircraft with pilot David Riggs and a Chinese translator onboard crashed into Caihu Lake in Liaoning’s capital city of Shenyang, during a trial flight.

The translator was pulled from the water but died later in hospital. Riggs remains unaccounted for.

Rescuers on Thursday expanded their search area to 100 meters around the site of the crash. Twenty rescuers from the Beijing-based Lantian rescue team also have joined the 11-member team from the Beihai rescue bureau under the Ministry of Communications in the search.

A seat and two seat-backs have been salvaged with another seat yet to be found, leading to speculation that the missing pilot was probably fastened to the seat and remained trapped in the aircraft.

Riggs is an experienced Hollywood aerobatic pilot who had set several speed records worldwide. He came to Shenyang to attend the “AOPA-China Fly-In 2013″ air show scheduled to run from Sept. 20 to 22 in Faku County.

The organizing committee of the show said the U.S. team may be absent from the performance due to the accident. A total of 12 aircraft from Sweden, the United States, France and the Republic of Lithuania were due to attend the event.

The aircraft was assembled at a local airport, according to the committee, but it had undertaken three successful trial flights before the accident.

The aircraft, which is too small to be equipped with a black box, belongs to the MACH 1 aerobatic team from the United States.

The CAAC Northeast Regional Administration has set up a work team to investigate the cause of the accident.

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One Response to Search area expanded…US team “may not appear”

  1. WM pilot says:

    Who else went to China with the s.o.b. ?