UPDATE: Pilot OK after Lake Winnipesaukee plane crash
ALTON - Pilot Vadim Gayshan, 59, of Sudbury, Mass., escaped with only mild hypothermia after his Cessna single-engine plane crashed into Lake Winnipesaukee early Tuesday afternoon.
By late in the day, the plane, which sank in about 100 feet of water near Diamond Island, was being marked by state Marine Patrol buoys and lines, and divers from Dive Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro were on their way to help salvage the plane.
"We have one boat there and another on the way," said Don Grout of Dive Winnipesaukee, who estimated that it could take several hours for his divers to help salvage crews use air bags to float the plane to the surface of the lake. The operation will likely be completed by this evening, he said, though he wasn't sure where the plane would be brought to shore.
Rescue crews staged at Andrews Marina about 12:30 p.m. to rescue the pilot after his plane crashed into the lake near Minge Cove.
Gilford Deputy Fire Chief Bradley Ober confirmed that Gayshan, who called 911 to report the crash, was taken to the Marine Patrol docks in Glendale, and then to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia.
Gayshan was not seriously injured, Ober said. "He may have had some mild hypothermia."
Gayshan told investigators that he had flown out of Fitchburg, Mass, and was looking at the ice conditions on Lake Winnipesaukee, traveling at approximately 70 to 80 knots and about 300 to 400 feet above the water's surface. He started to do "touch and go's" and misjudged his elevation, according to a press release from Marine Patrol. The plane's pontoon caught on the water and caused a nose-first crash. The pilot has 13 years of experience, two of which are specific to seaplanes, the release indicated. The plane is currently submerged in 105 feet of water.
A spokesman from Winnipesaukee Marine Construction said the company's barges were en route to the site at about 1:20 p.m. to "retrieve a sunken airplane."
The plane is a 2000 Cessna T206H fixed-wing single-engine craft.
The plane is owned by Scinitech, a Shirley, Mass., manufacturer of scintillators and detectors, a spokesman at the company confirmed.
"Yes, it's our plane. I'm still trying to figure everything out," the man said.
The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified, officials said.