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Two small planes crash off Cape Cod

Five onboard are unhurt in accidents near Mashpee, Bourne

Small plane crashes

In the first crash, a single-engine plane carrying two men who were filming an inspirational video for their church crash-landed in the ocean off the coast of Mashpee. The crash occurred at about noon, the US Coast Guard said.

Shortly before 5 p.m., a small seaplane carrying a father and two children crashed into the west end of Cape Cod Canal near the entrance to Buttermilk Bay off Bourne, according to the Coast Guard, and someone in a pontoon boat rescued all three passengers from the aircraft.

No injuries to the father or the children were reported, the statement said. Their conditions were not immediately available.

Onset Fire Chief Howard B. Andersen said personnel from Tow Boat US, a marine towing company, were working to remove the seaplane from Buttermilk Bay late last night. They were also trying to determine if any leakage needed to be plugged, he said.

Onset firefighters surrounded the crash site with material designed to absorb leakage at about 5:30 p.m., Deputy Fire Chief William Ellis said.

“Witness accounts are that the plane flipped over and it sunk,’’ Andersen said, adding that officials received conflicting versions of the crash.

Bourne police dispatcher Tom Morgello said the plane had crashed into the Hog Island Channel near Massachusetts Maritime Academy and tried to take off again unsuccessfully.

Bill BeLeon, 68, of Onset, said he saw the plane flying nearly at ground level between his house and his neighbor’s home on Sias Point.

“It’s scary, because if that plane hit one of those houses, we’d be dead people,’’ BeLeon said.

Causes for the crashes had not been determined by early last night, the Coast Guard said. The Federal Aviation Administration could not immediately be reached.

Josh Adams, a passenger in the first plane, which landed in the ocean about 100 yards off South Cape Beach, said that surviving was nothing short of miraculous.

“God put his hand around us,’’ said Adams, a 28-year-old minister for Cape Cod Church in Falmouth. “When we were going down, I said, ‘God, I need help; I really need some help right now.’ You don’t hear about people crashing in the ocean and walking away from it.’’

Adams and pilot Mike Keeling stood uninjured on the shore shortly after the crash, as emergency responders attempted to pull the wreckage of the plane out of the water.

Keeling said he and Adams had been flying over Cape Cod, about 1,000 feet offshore, preparing a video of picturesque scenes when the plane’s engine shut off.

“He said, ‘Wow, that doesn’t sound right,’ ’’ Adams recalled after the crash. “I thought maybe he was messing with me. But then he called in an emergency landing, and I realized, we’re putting it in the water.’’

As he braced for impact, Adams said, he remembered thinking about dramatic plane crashes in the movies. But in real life, he said, the collision is harder, and the water rises faster.

“I was so scared before I realized we weren’t that far from shore,’’ he said.

The two men undid their seatbelts and swam out the door on the passenger side. As they emerged from the wreckage, two 17-year-old lifeguards swam out to them on rescue boards.

Frank Dubrawski of Hilton Head Island, S.C., said he was spending the afternoon with his wife on the beach when he saw the plane flying “awfully low’’ over the dunes toward the water. The wheels of the plane skimmed the water before it crashed, he said.

From the beach, Dubrawski could see the pilot and the passenger through the windows of the plane, he said.

“It looked like two dummies like you’d see in those car crash tests,’’ Dubrawski said, “their bodies just launching forward and bouncing around in the cockpit.’’

No one was swimming in the water when the plane crashed, he said.

Adams said he attempted to capture the descent into the water with his video camera. The footage, if usable, will accompany a sermon Adams plans to deliver at the Baptist church on Sunday, as part of a series the church was putting on called “True Stories.’’

“They’ve got the mother of all true stories now,’’ said the Rev. Ben Feldott, 41, pastor of the church, who came to the beach after he heard about the wreck. “I was pretty nervous when I heard, but thankfully they’re all right.’’

The plane was towed from the ocean at about 3:30 p.m. yesterday by emergency personnel.

Source:  http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/08/03/2_small_planes_crash_off_cape_cod/