Searchers on Friday recovered from a lake in China the body of a Hollywood stunt pilot whose aerial antics landed him in jail after he buzzed the Santa Monica Pier in 2008.
The discovery settled the case of the missing David Riggs, who was presumed dead after he crashed his plane into Lake Caihu in northeast China while performing a stunt in an air show Tuesday.
Riggs crashed while attempting a risky maneuver in rainy conditions in which he touched the aircraft's wheels to the surface of the lake, creating a skiing effect, Zhang Fang, head of the search team, told the Associated Press.
An 18-year-old Chinese woman serving as his translator was also killed in the crash.
Riggs was flying in the rain despite officials telling him not to.
A Studio City native, Riggs' stunts have been the topic of controversy and litigation for years.
Riggs was sentenced to jail and had his pilot’s license suspended in 2010 for a low-flying stunt in a military jet above the Santa Monica Pier in a flyover that was captured on video.
He had his license revoked in 2012 after a plane flown by his business partner crashed, killing both people on board. His license was suspended because he was giving rides to the public without FAA approval.
At the time of the crash in China, he wasn’t licensed.
Riggs' reckless flying drew contempt from many people in the aviation community.
Some pilots went as far as to create a website, aviationcriminal.com, exposing his flying.
It's unclear why Riggs was allowed to fly in the show without a valid U.S. pilot's license.
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