A pilot held onto the tip of the plane’s broken wing for nine hours until he was rescued after he crashed into alligator-infested waters of the Florida everglades in the US on Tuesday.
Everglades National Park is the only place in the world where alligators co-exist with crocodiles - in the very same waters the pilot’s single-engine Cessna Skyhawk 172M aircraft went down at 4am, according to reports.
The pilot was the only person on board the plane, which was registered to a flight school, CBS News Miami reported. According to flight tracking, the plane left a location near Lake Okeechobee, largest freshwater lake in the US, and traveled south before encountering trouble close in South Broward county.
In an Instagram video post showing the rescue, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) wrote: “On Tuesday morning, at 10:20am, #MDFR [Miami-Dade Fire Rescue] responded to assist @browardsheriffsoffice [Broward Sheriff's Office] Fire Rescue in a mutual aid call involving reports of a small plane down in the area of Mack’s Fish Camp located at 18599 Krome Ave in Southwest Broward. Due to the remote location of the incident and difficult terrain, MDFR’s Air Rescue North arrived on scene to conduct a hoist operation in order to rescue the patient from the downed aircraft and provide medical care. One adult patient was safely removed from the aircraft and then airlifted to a local-area hospital in Broward County.”
Social media users commented on the video, appreciating the efforts of the authorities. Instagrammer @diamelabakes wrote: “Goosebumps! You guys are awesome!” Another user, @funkjenny, posted: “Amazing job, thank you for all you do!”
CBS News Miami reported that the pilot had a wound on his leg according to South Broward county fire chief Michael Kane. Kane said that the South Broward county received a 911 call from the flight school where the plane was based and dispatched crews in airboats. But they realised that they needed a hoist to rescue the pilot. That's when Miami-Dade Fire Rescue was called.
The pilot was airlifted into the helicopter from the floating wing of the plane. In the MDFR video, a first responder is seen dangling down to the wing of the plane where the pilot was stranded.
He was given a harness and lifted up to the hovering helicopter. According to reports, the pilot was then taken to Hollywood Memorial Regional Hospital where he underwent treatment.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are handling the investigation, according to CBS News Miami.