Small plane sinks in San Diego Bay, 2 survives

The pilot and passenger of a banner-towing plane made an emergency landing on San Diego Bay and were plucked out of the water before the aircraft sank, authorities said Saturday.

The pilot of the single-engine Cessna 150 reported engine problems and went in the water south of the Coronado Bay Bridge around 4:20 p.m., FAA spokesman Ian Gregory said.

Boaters rescued the men, who were not injured, Coast Guard spokesman Michael Haas said. They were then transferred to a Coast Guard boat.

The dramatic scene unfolded near the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.

A witness told NBC San Diego that he was reading a book when he heard the plane's propeller above him.

"I also heard silence and I thought that was strange," John McClure told the news station.

He said the engine had stopped, and when he looked up he saw the banner advertising a website drop. Then the pilot rocked the aircraft before it splashed into the water.

"I've never seen anything quite like this," he said.

The plane sank, but was later located by San Diego Harbor Police divers, Haas said. He said recovery of the aircraft was being coordinated with a salvage company.