Dreadnought, a heavily modified Hawker Sea Fury race plane and a Cessna 210 were flying together when they touched over San Francisco Bay on Sunday. NTSB spokesman Howard Plagens told local media the accident happened in a “passing maneuver” and that the unidentified Sea Fury pilot felt a “thump” and saw the other aircraft fall away. The 210 crashed. The Sea Fury continued on to the home base of both aircraft at Eagle’s Nest Airport in Ione, Calif. The wreckage of the 210 was found in San Pablo Bay, near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge but authorities continue to search for the pilot of the aircraft.
The occupants of the Sea Fury were not injured but the extent of the damage to the 1950s-era aircraft, a Reno Air Races champion, was not released. Both aircraft departed Eagle’s Nest Airport earlier in the day to participate in the Pacific Coast Dream Machines show, an annual event at Half Moon Bay Airport south of San Francisco. The two aircraft were returning to Eagles Nest when the accident occurred.
Eric Johnson, owner of the Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor, told KTVU that his wife saw the two aircraft collide and the two immediately dispatched a boat to assist. It clipped a wing, probably lost a wing, spun violently and hit the water, Johnson told KTVU.