SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office says a man stole a single-engine plane from Palo Alto Airport and made a crash landing near Poplar Beach.
SKY7 got video of the single-engine two-seater, nose-down just south of Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay.
Sheriff’s officials say they received reports the small aircraft landed on the sand at around 5 p.m.
When officers arrived the plane was unoccupied, but witnesses saw the pilot walk away.
Thanks to a witness’s description of the pilot, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office arrested the suspect within minutes.
Sergeant Javier Acosta said the suspect is a 50-year-old man from Miami, Florida.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years and this is a first for me,” Acosta said.
Kathleen Kennedy of Santa Clara said the plane flew right over her – twice.
“The first buzz was so fast, it was a normal speed and it flew right over my head – like 20 feet over my head,” Kennedy said.
She thought it was a mayday call or something illegal.
“It was very unnerving because it’s well below the flight deck it’s well below 500 feet. So that’s why I thought it was a mayday or they were up to no good,” Kennedy said.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office is working with the Palo Alto Police Department on this case.
The Sheriff’s Office said the suspect has been arrested and booked into jail.
“Most important, I’m glad no one else was hurt – I mean that could’ve been really bad,” Kennedy said.