Coast Guard rescues 3 from plane crash

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Coast Guard rescued three people today after the plane they were on crashed about six miles from Atlantic City International Airport.

Rescued were Anthony Kelly, 37, of Sewell, N.J., Robert Stavola, 39, of Cherry Hill, N.J., and Nicholas Stavola, 14, also of Cherry Hill.

Kelly, the pilot of the single-engine Cessna 172, contacted the air traffic control tower at Atlantic City International Airport and reported having engine problems during a flight from Ocean City, N.J., to Cross Keys, N.J.

The plane landed in a tree, and all three survivors were able to climb out of the plane to safety.

Kelly called the air traffic control tower on a cell phone, and they in turn contacted the Coast Guard.

An HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City diverted from a flight, arrived on scene and landed in a clearing nearby at about 5:13 p.m., 10 minutes after receiving the call. The three survivors were picked up and taken to awaiting EMS personnel at the Coast Guard air station.

“I can’t believe we’re here,” said Robert Stavola. “Thanksgiving has taken on a whole new meaning. I really have something to be thankful for this year.”

All three survivors are in good condition.

The Coast Guard rescue crew was Lt. Kevin Howard, Lt. j.g. Jon Mackin, Petty Officer 2nd Class Neal Stremel and Petty Officer 3rd Class David Downham.

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