Scenic photo shoot from plane becomes on-camera crash, rescue

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO/CNN) - Two people were on board a small plane when it went down in the waters off Half Moon Bay Harbor in California.

Two people were on a plane when it went down in waters off Half Moon Bay Harbor in California. (Source: David Lesh/KGO/CNN)

Amazingly, they lived to tell about it. And the entire incident was caught on camera.

An air-to-air photo shoot over the California coast turned catastrophic for 34-year-old David Lesh and his friend, Kayla.

"We were going to go fly over the Golden Gate Bridge and do a whole bay tour ... obviously didn't make it there," Lesh said.

Lesh purchased the Beechcraft Bonanza just a few weeks ago. He said he lost all power and couldn't get the engine back up and running.

Video captured the plane hitting water five miles outside the harbor.

"I would guess that we probably didn't have much more than maybe a minute or two from the time I figured something was wrong to the time we hit the water," Lesh said.

Overhead, Owen Leipelt was piloting the lead plane. He watched as the Beechcraft hit.

"At one point, I lost them," Leipelt said. "I had been circling, and I couldn't see them anymore. And David called me on the phone as he was bobbing in the water, and he turned me around and he guided me right to where he was."

Lesh recorded the moment he and Kayla climbed on the wing. After the plane sank, he took video of the two bobbing in the ocean, as well as the moment the U.S. Coast Guard made contact.

"What was truly amazing about tonight was there was another aircraft on scene that quickly responded, contacted air traffic control who knew to contact airborne Coast Guard asset and get us on scene quickly," said Lt. Commander Joshua Murphy.

Lesh kept rolling as the crew rescued the two, returning them safely to land.

"For as terrible as it was, as it could've been, it really wasn't bad," said USCG First Class Petty Officer Mikol Sullivan. "It was really a miracle."

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