Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Body of pilot found in Chinese lake

US stunt pilot David Riggs died in a crash in China (AP)

Divers have found the body of a missing US stunt pilot whose plane crashed into a lake in China while attempting a tricky manoeuvre in the rain.

David Riggs, whose US pilot's licence had been suspended, had been missing since Tuesday's accident outside the city of Shenyang in which his young female Chinese translator died.

He was in China to take part in an air show and was apparently rehearsing one of his tricks when the accident happened.

The head of the team searching for him, Zhang Fang, said that Mr Riggs' body was found during a search of the bottom of Lake Caihu by divers from the Dalian branch of the Beihai Rescue Bureau.

"It's likely he was killed on impact, but we don't know for sure yet," he said by telephone from the accident scene.

Mr Riggs' high-performance single-engine Lancair 320 plane broke into pieces after hitting the lake and some parts had been recovered, including one of its two seats.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation. The plane was not equipped with a "black box" recorder because of its small size.

Mr Zhang said Mr Riggs crashed while attempting a stunt in which the wheels of his plane were to drag along the lake surface at high speed.

He had just taken off in a light rain, but there was no indication he had violated any flying regulations, Mr Zhang said.

Other reports have said that Chinese officials had urged Mr Riggs not to take off, but Mr Zhang said he had no information about that.

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