Monday, July 23, 2012

Piper PA-25-235, N7313Z: Accident occurred July 23, 2012 in Westerly, Rhode Island

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA474 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 23, 2012 in Westerly, RI
Aircraft: PIPER PA-25-235, registration: N7313Z
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 23, 2012, about 1500 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-25, N7313Z, registered to and operated by Simmons Aviation, was presumed substantially damaged following a forced landing into the Atlantic Ocean, near Westerly, Rhode Island. The certificated airline transport certificated pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from Westerly State Airport (WST), Westerly, Rhode Island, about 1445. The banner tow flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that he departed with 25 gallons of fuel, for a 45 minute flight, and had not taken on any fuel that day. About 12 minutes into the flight, the engine began running "roughly", and then it sounded as though the engine misfired before it lost power completely. The pilot subsequently ditched the airplane approximately 6 miles from shore. The pilot transmitted a distress call, and was later rescued by a civilian boat. The airplane was last seen floating east, and to date has not been recovered.

Credit: NBC 10 News 
A pilot (in the orange shirt) whose plane ditched in Block Island Sound on Monday, July 23, 2012, leaves the U.S. Coast Guard Station Point Judith.


A pilot whose plane experienced engine trouble and ditched in Block Island Sound on Monday was rescued from the water.

The pilot was picked up by a private boat at about 4 p.m.  A Coast Guard boat transferred the pilot to Point Judith.

The pilot walked out of the Coast Guard station, got into a truck and drove away about an hour later.  He told NBC 10 News that he was OK.

Two men came out of the station carrying two airplane wheels.

The single-seat plane, which was pulling a banner with a marriage proposal, went down in the water between Watch Hill and Block Island.  It had taken off from Westerly Airport at about 3 p.m.

Several mayday calls were made before the plane went down. The pilot reported engine trouble.

The plane's tail number is registered to Simmons Aviation of Pawcatuck, Conn.

The pilot's name and hometown were not immediately available.

Story, photo and video:
Pilot rescued with help from 8-year-old son

A Good Samaritan boater and the pilot’s 8-year-old son took part in rescuing a pilot whose plane went down in Block Island Sound Monday afternoon.

Lt. Bryan Swintek, a Coast Guard Spokesman at Sector Southeastern New England at Woods Hole, Mass., said the Coast Guard took a call from New England Air Control at about 3:21 p.m., reporting that they had overheard a radio transmission between a pilot and a young child who was later identified as the pilot’s son.

Swintek said the pilot was reporting he was in distress.

Swintek said the pilot was heard to tell his son. “I’m going down.”

New England Air Control was able to provide a probable flight path of the craft.

The Coast Guard was able to contact the boy whose name they did not release. The son was able to report that his dad had put out the distress call about two minutes after takeoff, which helped the Coast Guard’s search.

Swintek said an “urgent marine information broadcast” was put out on the universal marine radio channel 16.

Boats from Coast Guard stations at Castle Hill, Point Judith and Block Island were deployed for the search, along with a helicopter from Cape Cod. He said first responders from area towns were also alerted.

“We basically sent everyone in the area,” he said. “We didn’t have a good location.”

He said a civilian boater rescued the plot from the water about 3 miles south of Ninigret Pond in Charlestown, R.I.

The pilot was then brought aboard a Coast Guard vessel and taken to Point Judith for medical evaluation.

“He was alert and oriented when they got him,” Swintek said. “He was speaking and did not appear to have any serious injuries, but he is going to Point Judith for further evaluation.”

Swintek credited the son with being a big help in the mission.

“He was incredibly calm,” Swintek said. “He played a key role in helping his dad.”

Swintek said the aircraft had not yet been located or recovered.

“We’re now making the transition from a search-and-rescue mission to a pollution and debris response,” he said.

Report: Plane carrying proposal sign crashes

Went down in the waters off Westerly

Coast Guard crews were called to the waters off Westerly Monday afternoon after reports of a small plane crash.

USCG Lt. Bryan Swintek told Eyewitness News the plane had just gotten airborne and the pilot was believed to be talking to his 8-year-old son over the radio when he broadcast a mayday.

The FAA confirmed the plane was carrying a "Will You Marry Me" banner when it went down into the Block Island Sound.

Swintek told Eyewitness News New England Airline heard the mayday and then notified the Coast Guard.

While boaters were put on alert to look for the plane, Coast Guard officials were able to speak to the pilot's son to get a general idea where his father was.

Swintek said a good Samaritan aboard the boat "The Stampede" was able to pull the pilot - who was alert and conscious - from the water.

The pilot was then taken to Pt. Judith, where an ambulance from Narragansett EMS was waiting onshore.

After evaluating the the pilot, EMS advised him that he did not need to be transported to the Hospital.
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