Sunday, September 07, 2014

Cessna L19-305A Bird Dog, Aerial Banners Inc., N212KY: Incident occurred September 06, 2014 in Atlantic Ocean off Miami Beach, Florida


Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19


The pilot of the banner plane that crashed off Miami Beach. 

U.S. Coast Guard crews at the scene of the plane crash off Miami Beach. 

Good Samaritan George Daly 

A piece of the Cessna L19-305A Bird Dog plane being brought to shore.  

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A banner tow plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Miami Beach Saturday afternoon, leading a Good Samaritan to spring into action to rescue the injured pilot. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the crash took place off 47th and 48th Streets and Collins Avenue, near the Fontainebleau Hotel, around 2:30 p.m.

The pilot was trailing an advertisement banner when, according to the FAA, his aircraft lost power and ditched into the ocean.

George Daly witnessed the aircraft fly lower before it plummeted into the water. The Good Samaritan said he immediately got on his personal watercraft and rode out to the site of the crash. "As soon as I get up there, he was in the water, he had a minor cut over here," said Daly as he pointed above his right eyebrow.

The pilot told Daly he was flying the L19-305 banner tow aircraft by himself. "I asked him if there was anybody else on the plane with him. He said, 'no,'" said Daly. "So I got him on board and brought him to the shore and Ocean Rescue took over right away."

Witness Ann Brito said the victim was concerned he may have injured someone when the plane went down. "He wasn't even worried much about himself. He wasn't even trying to touch himself or anything," she said. "The first question he ever asked, it was, 'Did I hit anybody?' As soon as we said no, he said, "Thank God.'"

Witnesses on the beach said the crash happened within seconds. "The plane is looking like it's going to land, but it has no pontoons on it, so we knew something was wrong," said Elias Hanono.

"It just dropped the advertisement, and it kept going that way, and it kept going lower and lower, and then it went like face first into the water," said Mashelyn Carrera.

Daly said the pilot told him the crash may have been caused by a mechanical problem. "Engine shut down, or something like that," he said, "so I'm hoping they take the plane out of there soon, because it had quite a big amount of fuel."

The plane sank completely. It is registered to Aerial Banners Inc. in Pembroke Pines.

Carrera captured the moment Daly and the pilot made it to shore on her cell phone camera. Beachgoers greeted Daly and the injured pilot with a round of applause as they got off the personal watercraft.

Daly said the pilot thanked him profusely for rescuing him, and that he was grateful and relieved that he didn't injure anyone. "He didn't know how to thank me [enough]; he was really thankful that I got him out of there on time," he said. "I felt like a hero, so I was happy he was OK and he was conscious, and everybody's happy."

"Sir, are you OK?" Carrera asked the pilot.

"Yeah," he replied.

The pilot was transported to Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries.

Several hours later, authorities located the plane and brought it back to shore. A large crowd gathered around the scene to watch the aircraft be pulled out from the water in three large pieces.

The pieces were later placed on a flatbed trailer and taken away to be examined.

The FAA is investigating what led to the plane's power outage.

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