BEIJING -- The body of stunt pilot David Riggs was discovered Friday by search-and-rescue teams diving in a lake in northeastern China where he had crashed earlier in the week, Chinese media said.
The body of Studio City-based Riggs was recovered at 12:12 p.m. local time from Caihu Lake on the outskirts of Shenyang after a search that lasted nearly three days.
Riggs, a controversial figure whose pilot's license was suspended, flew his plane into the lake Tuesday afternoon while performing a stunt in which the wheels of the aircraft grazed the surface to produce a skiing effect.
After the crash, chances for his survival had been thought low as water temperatures in the lake were under 50 degrees and the plane broke up on impact."Based on the conditions at the scene, the plane had a strong impact when it crashed into the water and the plane was heavily damaged. The possibility for the pilot to survive is very low," Zhang Fang, the head of one of the rescue teams, told Chinese state media earlier in the week.
Although the single-engine stunt plane Riggs flew was too small to be equipped with a black box that would reveal the cause of the crash, Chinese witnesses say that he had disregarded suggestions that he abort the flight because of bad weather.
Rigg was one of the starring attractions in the International Flight Conference and General Aviation Products Expo, which began today.
An 18-year-old Chinese woman who was working as Riggs’ translator was also killed in the crash.
Riggs was a self-promoting stunt pilot whose antics inspired much litigation, criminal and civil, as well as a website, aviationcriminal.com, devoted to bringing him down.
He twice buzzed the Santa Monica Pier and twice lost his aviation license, most recently in November 2012, as a result of an accident in which another plane crashed in the Nevada desert.