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Nuclear Plant

Reader comment on item: Denying [Islamist] Terrorism

Submitted by Patti (United States), Feb 8, 2005 at 14:11

In Northern San Diego County is a nuclear plant, San Onofre, located on the beach. Not long after 9/ll (Dec 2001) there was a plane crash over the water, half a mile from the plant. Aboard the small plane were an Arab man and woman. Jamul Muhammad, 26, was taken to the hospital and Celina Muhammad, 29, was killed. The authorities seemed to give no weight to the the fact that at least one of these was a recent convert to Islam, in a small plane near a nuclear plant. Interesting too that the FAA says that " the plane was not in an unauthorized area."

How long would it take a Cessna to fly one 1/2 mile? I still consider the combinations of the situation very suspicious and more so since the Daniel Pipes article of 2/8/05.

Below is a newspaper clipping (San Diego Union Tribune Dec 27, 2001) about the crash:

Small plane that crashed is recovered
1 dead, 1 hurt; third person may be lost
By Elizabeth Fitzsimons
December 27, 2001 San Diego Union Tribune

A single-engine plane that crashed into the ocean Tuesday was recovered in shallow water about a half-mile from the San Onofre nuclear power plant yesterday, authorities said.

A woman identified by the county Medical Examiner's Office as Celina Muhammad, 29, was killed in the crash. The pilot, identified by the Coast Guard yesterday as Jamul Muhammad, 26, of Los Angeles, was pulled from the water barely clinging to life.

He remained in critical condition at a La Jolla hospital, suffering from severe hypothermia.

The Medical Examiner's Office said the two are not related. It was not clear where Celina Muhammad lived.

Yesterday morning, divers continued their search for a possible third victim, whom the Medical Examiner's Office said might be Celina Muhammad's husband.

The cause of the crash had not been determined. Federal investigators were piecing together the last moments of the doomed midafternoon flight, which took off from McClellan-Palomar Airport.

The plane, a Cessna 172N, was returning to Hawthorne Airport, near Los Angeles, where Jamul Muhammad had rented it from Airport Security, the company that manages the airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Chris Miller, the owner of Airport Security, declined to comment on the pilot or the crash except to say, "We're devastated by the loss of life."

Muhammad was in communication with air traffic controllers before the plane went down, officials said. He said he was having engine trouble, had half a tank of fuel and "two souls" on board, said San Diego police Officer Robert Daun.

Daun and his partner, Officer Gary Roesink, were aboard a San Diego police helicopter and were patrolling the area above Black Mountain when they heard that a plane with engine trouble was trying to make it back to shore at San Onofre.

Roesink headed the chopper to San Onofre and on the way heard another plane's pilot report he had seen the Cessna go down.

Muhammad told air traffic controllers his engine had quit, Daun said. The other plane's pilot, from about 1,000 feet away, said he saw the Cessna hit the water and three people emerge from the wreckage.

About 15 minutes later, Daun and Roesink were hovering over the crash site, where an oil slick had formed about a half-mile from the beach. Daun said he saw a woman floating lifeless in the water.

"She was face down and, unfortunately, it looked like she was dead," Daun said. He said he also saw a black jacket, which he believed might have been mistaken for a person.

Then, 30 yards away, he saw a man trying to swim ashore.

Roesink lowered the helicopter to 20 feet above the water, and Daun threw out an inflatable life preserver. It landed about 3 feet from Muhammad, but it took him 30 seconds to swim to the ring and grab it, Daun said.

"It was stressful," Daun said. "I'm thinking, 'This guy's going to drown and I can't do anything else.' "

With Muhammad clinging to the life preserver, Roesink guided the helicopter to shore, and over the loudspeaker the officers asked bystanders if they had a boat or a surfboard.

One man pulled his wetsuit on and, with directions from the officers on the helicopter, swam out to Muhammad. There, Daun threw the swimmer another life preserver, and the swimmer held on to Muhammad and comforted him.

The swimmer could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Shortly afterward, state lifeguards arrived at the beach with surfboards. They paddled out to Muhammad and the swimmer and hoisted Muhammad onto a board, authorities said.

About an hour after the crash, a Coast Guard helicopter arrived and took Muhammad to the hospital, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

Yesterday, Daun recalled the emotions he experienced during the rescue: how his heart sank when he saw it was too late for Celina Muhammad, and how his frustration mounted as he watched Jamul Muhammad, nearly motionless in the cold water, and waited for more help to arrive.

There was also relief -- that Jamul Muhammad made it to the hospital alive, and that in Roesink "we had one of our best pilots flying," Daun said.

"I'm glad we got there when we did," he said.

Elizabeth Fitzsimons:
(760) 752-6743; elizabeth.fitzsimons@uniontrib.com


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