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Thu, Aug 23, 2012

The Coast Guard Rescues Downed Pilot Minutes After Impacting The Water

Plane Went Down About A Mile West Of Hernando Beach, FL Wednesday

The U.S. Coast Guard went to the aid of a pilot who's plane went down in the Gulf of Mexico about a mile west of Hernando Beach, FL, Wednesday. The FAA received an emergency distress signal at 1115 EDT, and contacted Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders for assistance.

The downed pilot swam from the wreckage to a nearby marsh where he called 911, reported his location and requested assistance.

According to a Coast Guard news release. an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater arrived on scene at 1145 EDT, hoisted the man and transported him to the air station where he was released in good condition.

"We were called by the sector watchstanders who were in good communication with the FAA about the incident," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jayson Marrero, a crewmember aboard the Jayhawk. "Although we had very low visibility, we were able to get to the scene and hoist him quickly."

The incident is under investigation by the FAA. The Associated Press reports the plane was a Piper Arrow. Petty Officer Michel DeNyse said that the pilot told the 911 dispatcher he had just seen the Coast Guard helicopter, and asked if it could return to pick him up. It did.

(Image courtesy of the U.S.Coast Guard)

FMI: www.uscg.mil

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