Video has surfaced of a plane crashing into the sea off a Californian beach … right in front of a competition for 600 lifeguards.
The light aircraft plunged into the water, ending up perpendicular with its nose in the undertow, before settling in the right way.
The impact occurred on a stretch of beach where about 600 young guards were showing off their skills.
Incredibly, the plane hit the sea between competition rounds, so no one was in the water at the time.
The footage showed a uniformed lifebuoy with distinctive red shorts rushing into the water with a lifeboat.
Two young lifeguards Jake Shaffer and Aidan – who did not provide a surname – rushed into the sea.
Speaking to NBC News, Aidan said, “Jake says, ‘OK, run!’ So I start running towards the waterline where the plane is and he takes a board. “
Mr. Shaffer described the pilot as a young man wearing a flannel shirt.
The lifeguard said: “When he got on my board, he had a small cut on his head.
“I kept asking him, ‘Hello, sir? Are you okay?’
“We were just going through these things to the captain about trying to learn about the person. What could have happened. He didn’t want to talk. He was sitting there frozen on the board.”
The elders told the young people to stay on the shore as the professionals rushed to the crash site, some 27 meters from the shore.
Corinne Baginski, whose 17-year-old daughter was racing, confirmed that the plane – which appeared to be a Piper Cub – did not crash while people were swimming.
The pilot appeared to exit the plane on his own, and was later seen in the back of a lifeguard vehicle and was taken to the hospital with bumps and bruises according to a spokesperson for Huntington Beach in Los Angeles.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.