Coast Guard rescues pilot and passengers from a downed aircraft

MARATHON, Fla. – A Coast Guard small boat crew from Station Marathon located and rescued the pilot and his two passengers after their plane crashed Friday night approximately five miles southwest of Cape Sable, Fla.

The adult male pilot and owner of the aircraft was en route from Tampa, Fla. to Marathon, Fla. with two passengers, one adult male and an adult female, when their plane stalled and later crashed. They spent the night clinging to a lobster trap buoy before they were spotted by the small boat crew from Station Marathon.

Watchstanders at the Seventh Coast Guard District received a call at approximately 9:30 p.m. Friday night from an air-traffic controller in Miami reporting that a single-engine aircraft was descending rapidly and may have crashed in the water.

Coast Guard search and rescue watchstanders at Sector Key West coordinated a multi-agency search that spanned a 2,200 square mile area throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning including multiple helicopters from Air Stations Miami and Clearwater, a C-130 from Air Station Clearwater, and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Life Flight helicopter.

Everglades National Park Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also assisted in the search Saturday morning for the downed plane.

“The 100 plus Coast Guard and partner agency personnel that were involved with the search are extremely happy to locate and rescue the three crash survivors,” said Capt. Pat DeQuattro, Commander Coast Guard Sector Key West. “This search was a great success.”

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