An “experimental” plane didn’t quite crash in the Potomac river on Oct. 6., it sank. At approximately 2:30 p.m., Montgomery County Fire Rescue got the call that a plane had crashed in the Potomac River between Violette’s and Riley’s locks.
The county dispatched its swift water rescue team, and a HAZMAT team deployed in case of a fuel spill, but there was no spill.
“We deployed the HAZMAT team near the WSSC plant,” said Fire Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer.
When the rescue crews arrived, they found the plane about 30 yards from the Virginia shore, near the Seneca rapids, and the uninjured pilot, an adult male, on the shore in Loudoun County, Va. near the Lowes Island Golf Course, said Piringer.
A spokesperson for Loudoun County Fire and Rescue could not be reached for comment.
“The plane turned out to be an experimental, or kit plane,” Piringer said.
He believes that the plane may have been equipped with pontoons. “Apparently, this was not a crash, the plane was just moving along the water and it sank,” Piringer said.
Piringer said the plane was to have been removed from the river, at the owner’s expense, by Oct. 7. It was not known if the owner had complied with this by the Almanac’s press deadline.
No charges were filed by Montgomery County police, who have handed the investigation over to federal authorities.
If it is determined to have been a crash, the investigation would be handled by the National Transportation Safety Board. If it is not considered a crash it will fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration could not be reached by the Almanac’s press deadline.