Coast Guard rescues pilot in Tampa Bay

Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg 29-foot Response Boat – Small II file photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lisa Ferdinando

Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg 29-foot Response Boat – Small II file photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lisa Ferdinando

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— A Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg boat crew rescued a pilot from a small aircraft crash in the water three miles south of MacDill Air Force Base, Friday.

The 29-foot Response Boat-Small boat crew transferred the pilot to EMS without medical concerns.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg were notified at 6:30 p.m. by Pinellas Fire and Rescue and diverted the boat crew from training, who recovered the pilot from the water.

The Cherokee 180 plane is submerged and the owner will be working with commercial salvage for recovery. A hazard to navigation notice to mariners is being broadcasted on VHF radio channel 16.

“There was a lot of communication and inter-agency cooperation,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Hava, the boat crew coxswain. “The pilot was able to use the light on his cell phone to signal to us where he was, which made finding him quicker. A lot of others arrived on-scene about the same time as us.”

The cause of the crash is under investigation. A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater also responded.

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