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Tue, Jun 26, 2012

Tuna-Spotting Pilot Rescued After Ditching Airplane

Boat He Was Spotting For Picked Him Up After He Was Located By The Coast Guard

The pilot of an airplane working as a tuna spotter off the coast of Massachusetts was rescued Friday after he was forced to ditch his plane in the ocean. The man, known by the crew of the tuna boat for which he was working as a spotter as 'Pat the Pilot', was not injured when the plane went down for unspecified reasons.

The pilot was acting as a spotter for the fishing boat "Christina", which is featured on the National Geographic television show "Wicked Tuna". The boat crew had told the pilot to return to shore about 20 minutes before the accident occurred due to deteriorating weather. Deck Boss Greg Chorebanian told the Boston Herald that the pilot called on the radio just before 1700 EDT and said "I'm going down." He said the crew quickly calculated the area where the plane was likely to impact the water, and raced in that direction.

The Coast Guard had scrambled a Falcon jet, a helicopter, and a small boat in the direction of the accident scene. The jet spotted 'Pat' first, in a liferaft attached to the tail of the airplane.

The Christina arrived shortly after that, and the pilot got on board the fishing vessel for the ride back to shore. He was not injured, but also refused to be interviewed.

Fans of the show will not be able to see the rescue at sea. The television crew that travels with the boat when "Wicked Tuna" is in production was not on board when it went after the pilot. Chorebanian said filming for the next season of the unscripted show begins in about three weeks. He also said that "Pat the Pilot" will likely continue to spot tuna for the Christina. "I imagine he's at the airport looking for a new airplane as we speak," he told the paper.

FMI: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/wicked-tuna

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