ALTON — Divers and local firefighters floated a single-engine airplane from the bottom of Lake Winnipesaukee to the surface on Friday, raising it from the waters near Diamond Island where it crashed Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the pilot of the plane told Federal Aviation Administration's investigators that he was having problems seeing ahead of the plane when he crashed, according to Fire Chief Scott Williams.
"The pilot told the FAA he was having problems seeing because the lake was very calm and like a mirror that day," Williams said. "I can verify that, when we got there we were seeing some different things because the lake was so smooth."
Vadim Gayshan, 59, of Sudbury, Mass., was found at 12:50 p.m. Tuesday, clinging to his plane, a 2000 Cessna T206H fixed-wing single-engine craft, out of Fitchburg, Mass. He was submerged from the waist down, the Marine Patrol said.
Gayshan was the lone occupant in the plane, which went down in The Broads area of the lake in Alton in about 105 feet of water, authorities said. Rescue crews used a throw ring to remove him from the plane and bring him aboard the patrol boat. The plane is owned by Scinitech, a Shirley, Mass., manufacturer of scintillators and detectors, a spokesman at the company confirmed Gayshan was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital "suffering from cold water immersion," the Marine patrol said in a press release.
Gayshan said he was flying over the lake at about 85 mph and about 300-400 feet above the water's surface when he started to do a pilot "touch and go" exercised and misjudged his elevation.
The plane's pontoon caught on the water and caused a nose-first crash, the Marine Patrol said. Gayshan told investigators Tuesday he was looking at the ice conditions when his plane caught the lake waters, said the Marine Patrol.
"He definitely had a hard landing, but who knows what he was seeing, the lake was reflecting everything that day," Williams said.
At 10 a.m. Friday, divers from Dive Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro dove to the plane, which had been sitting on the bottom of the lake since Tuesday. They floated the plane to the surface with large air bags.
The recovery process took several hours, Williams said. Barges and workers from Winnipesaukee Marine were on hand to bring the plan to shore.
"It came up tail first, and it was a slow process," he said.
The plane was out of the water by about 2:30 p.m., and was towed to shore for further examination by the FAA, Williams said,