A seaplane that sank in Candlewood Lake in September was found to have a 9-inch gouge below its front fuselage, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report on the Sept. 15 accident.

The gouge was discovered below the SeaMax-M22 plane fuselage water line, causing it to sink.

The report states “an inspector confirmed the substantial damage, and noted pine tree debris were embedded in the aft portion of the damaged area.”

It did not indicate whether the plane might have struck a submerged pine tree in Candlewood Lake that could have created the gouge that ultimately sank the aircraft.

The NTSB report said “the pilot stated that he did not feel any impact during the landing.”

The single-engine plane made a rough landing on the Candlewood near the New Fairfield-Sherman border at 3:45 p.m. The pilot and his teenage son were not injured and no oil leaked into the water.

Nick Mellas, an officer with the Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol, said the pilot was a regular on Candlewood Lake, taking the 40-minute trip from Long Island to Candlewood often.

The amphibious aircraft, manufactured in 2011, is registered to Waterbird Holdings, of Hauppauge, N.Y.

The pilot told Mellas the flight seemed routine until he landed and realized water was seeping into the back of the plane.

Water was rising from the cockpit as Mellas and a state trooper pulled up to the aircraft. Mellas helped rescue the passengers from the plane.

State EnCon Officers secured the plane for the evening and assisted the recovery operation that occurred the next day.

According to planeandpilotmag. com, a SeaMax-M22 seaplane has a cruising speed of 115 mph and sells for $160,000.

Previous reporting by staff writer Julia Perkins was used in this report.