Alameda firefighters were working into darkness Sunday night in an effort to retrieve the body of 73-year-old Richard Manuel of San Mateo, who died after his World War II-era plane crashed Sunday afternoon.
The craft went nose first into the shores of San Leandro Bay, just off the popular biking and walking trail that circles the area known as "Mount Trashmore," near Doolittle Drive and Harbor Bay Parkway.
The plane had taken off from a runway at Oakland International Airport's North Field.
"My understanding is that there were some people on the pathway," said Lt. Joe McNiff of the Alameda Police Department, who was on scene Sunday night. "And they attempted to render aid but they were unable to get the individual out."
A host of public agencies responded to the accident, including the Alameda police and fire departments, Oakland police and fire departments, and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
"It was a single-engine aircraft that departed the Oakland Airport at about 3:30 p.m," said Rosemary Barnes, a spokeswoman for the aiport. "It gained a couple hundred feet of altitude and then was no longer able to continue to do so."
There were no details available regarding the cause of the accident, said Barnes.
"They're working on getting him out," said a witness on scene who declined to be named. "He's stuck in there pretty deep. It's sad and dramatic, not something you see every day."
The Navion plane that crashed is a five-seat aircraft built in the U.S. in 1947, Barnes said.
"We're just really sorry for what happened here," Barnes said. "It's a very somber mood."
Operations at the airport were not impacted by the crash. "We have staff here, and we're here to assist and do whatever we can," Barnes said. The FAA will be conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash, she said.