A NSW man living in the US and his fiancee have died in a light plane crash in California.
Lochie Ferrier got engaged to Cassidy Petit only four months ago — and now authorities believe both were killed when a small plane Ferrier was flying plummeted into coastal rocks south of San Francisco on Sunday about 7pm local time.
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“There is a plane in the water, it was made known to me that the plane was actually upside-down in the water,” sergeant Philip Hallworth from San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said.
Emergency services scrambled after witnesses reported the plane flying erratically.
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“What was even more alarming for the caller was that they heard the engine splutter, and they kept eyes on the plane until they lost sight of it just over the horizon,” Hallworth said.
Investigators believe there were four people were on board the plane. None survived.
Emma Willmer-Shiles, 27, from San Francisco has been identified as another victim. Her body was recovered Monday morning near the crash site.
Lochie Ferrier and his fiancee Cassidy Petit both died in a plane crash over the weekend. Credit: 7NEWS
Ferrier was born in Armidale, in NSW. He graduated from MIT University in Cambridge, in the US in 2019 with a degree in aerospace engineering.
He was interviewed in a podcast last year, when he spoke of his love for experimental flight tests. Ferrier not only flew planes, he built them.
US authorities are investigating what brought the aircraft down.
Investigators say the plane took off from Heywood Airport for a joy flight across San Francisco and landed at Half Moon Bay Airport. Two hours later, it took-off again, but crashed nearby.
A NSW man living in the US and his fiancee have died in a light plane crash in California. Credit: Supplied
“The wreckage is the number one thing … that’s what they (investigators) want to look at it … they want to see if it’s some type of mechanical failure, or structural failure, engine failure, whatever the case may be,” said aviation consultant Mike McCarron.
Data from the FlightAware website shows a matching plane took off from Hayward and toured the bay on Sunday, before landing at Half Moon Bay at 5.04pm.
The plane crashed about two hours later after taking off from Half Moon Bay, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.
McCarron said that with small aircraft, pilots would not necessarily be talking to a tower, but would be talking to a flight follower.
Communicating when running into problems is one of the priorities, he said.
“Let someone know you need help and what help you need, and I don’t know if any of that occurred with this pilot or it came on so quickly he didn’t have a chance to respond,” said McCarron.