MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The pilot of a banner plane that, officials and witnesses said, crashed into Biscayne Bay, off Miami Beach, Friday afternoon, addressed his tense emergency escape once the aircraft went into the water.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the pilot of the small yellow plane was rescued by good Samaritans and was taken away by Miami Beach Ocean Rescue.
Speaking briefly with reporters, Friday night, the unidentified pilot confirmed he was not injured. “Luckily, I’m OK, nobody got hurt, and no property was damaged,” he said.
Officials from Miami Beach, Miami-Dade and City of Miami all responded to the scene in the Intracoastal Waterway just behind Mount Sinai Medical Center, just after 3 p.m.
Video captured by witnesses showed the moment the banner plane crashed into the water. “To see it, it was pretty crazy,” said witness Stirling Fairman.
Fairman said the crash happened in just a matter of seconds. “I turned around for a second, and I looked back to see where it landed, and I didn’t see anything,” he said.
7Skyforce HD hovered above the partially submerged aircraft as the banner the plane was towing floated in the water nearby.
According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, the pilot was the only passenger on board at the time.
Those who were nearby at the time said they are glad the crash wasn’t worse. “I’m glad it wasn’t a jetliner and just a small Cessna,” said a witness.
The pilot was able to swim to safety and was then rescued by good Samaritans. He was alter seen standing with Miami-Dade Police officers.
The aircraft was later towed from the water and taken away for further investigation. Friday night, 7News cameras captured the plane in Miami, once again on dry land, as crews checked the damage and made repairs.
There is no word yet on what caused the plane to go down.
As the investigation continues, witnesses said they’re thankful this ordeal had a happy ending. “It’s crazy, and we’re really lucky that he’s OK,” Fairman said.
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