A 34-year-old pilot and his passenger posted selfies and laughed while being stung by jellyfish and waiting for help to arrive after he crashed the plane into the ocean.

A plane crash is usually no laughing matter.

For David Lesh and his friend, though, sinking their plane off the Californian coast was an opportune time to kick back, have a few laughs, take some selfies in the water, and wait for help to arrive.

Not even being stung by jellyfish as they waited could dampen their mood.


Extraordinary footage from the crash taken by Lesh's friend, pilot Owen Leipelt, shows Lesh's Beechcraft Bonanza light aircraft fail and hit the water off Half Moon Bay.

Leipelt continued to circle above the crash taking footage and made a call to air traffic control to alert them of the incident.

Lesh, a skier and owner of a ski apparel company, also took footage on his phone as he and his female passenger treaded water for around 40 minutes, and "jellyfish were stinging us the entire time we were in there," he told NBC.

Lesh acted quickly when he realised at 3400 feet that the engine had cut out. "I couldn't get the motor running and put it into the Pacific," he said.

"We skipped along the water for a few hundred feet and the impact was very minimal, it was not hard at all and we immediately opened the door and got out onto the wing."

In the twenty or thirty seconds after the vessel hit the water, Lesh had just enough time to grab his phone and keys before the plane sank. It got cold in the water after about 20 minutes, he said, but Lesh and his friend kept smiling.

Leipelt, meanwhile, who had departed Reid-Hillview airport in San Jose in tandem with Lesh to take photos of Lesh's new plane, tried to quell his panic.

"Your heart sinks when you hear, "Mayday, I have no power". It's something you don't want to hear, and it takes a second to kick in," he told KTVU.


He couldn't see Lesh for around ten minutes after the plane went down. Leipelt said he has 'never been so relieved in my life to hear him on the phone' when Lesh called him 10 minutes later.

The amount of footage and calmness of those involved was remarkable, as 9News pointed out in a review of the crash Lesh's "online history had a lot of stunts."

The Skier and clothing retailer has a high profile online personality, and connections to others with a history of provocative stunts designed to gain attention.

Lesh's wherewithal to continue filming the accident with a waterproof camera has both been praised and flagged as suspicious.

While both passengers survived the crash with smiles on their faces "a lot could have gone wrong" and it would have been extremely reckless to have performed such a dangerous stunt for "clicks".

Friends and supporters however, were pleased if not surprised to see the skier make a video out of a potentially fatal accident. Anais Caradeux freeskier and member of the 'Xtreme video family' said it was typical of David. Only he would be able to crash his own plane and "make a photo report" of it, she commented.