Saturday, July 04, 2015

Piper PA-25-260 Pawnee, N4792Y, Aerial Banners Inc: Incident occurred July 04, 2015 near Star Island in Miami, Florida

Date: 04-JUL-15
Time: 18:45:00Z
Regis#: N4792Y
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA25
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: Unknown
Damage: Unknown
Activity: Banner Tow
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA  Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19
State: Florida



The pilot of the banner tow plane.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- The pilot of a banner plane is lucky to be alive after, witnesses said, his aircraft plunged into Biscayne Bay off Miami Beach, narrowly missing the MacArthur Causeway, Saturday afternoon.

When asked how he was doing, the pilot, who did not give out his name, told 7News, "I'm doing good, just a scratch, no big deal."

On this busy Fourth of July, many people saw the small plane go down west of Star Island, about 15 to 20 feet from the shoreline, at around 3 p.m. "All of a sudden, it cut out, and then it just started to drop, drop, drop, drop," said a witness.

"I thought he was going to pull up, and the next thing you know, he goes right into the bay," said area resident Ralph Bias, who saw the ordeal unfold from the 35th floor.

"I think this guy, he might be a hero today, because I saw him avoid the [MacArthur] Causeway," Bias said. "He came very, very close to it. I saw him bank to the right, and he went right into the water, 'cause he was heading right towards it."

Minutes later, Miami Beach Police and the Coast Guard pulled the pilot to safety. Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll praised the pilot for being able to avoid hitting any structures or vessels, and thus preventing what could have been a tragedy. "We do credit the pilot for being able to bring this plane down in an area where it did not strike any other boats," he said. "It did not hit the bridge, and he was able to leave the plane safely."

His skill likely saved many lives this Independence Day, including his own. "I'm good, safe. No one got hurt; that's the important part," he said.

There is no word as to what caused the crash. It is currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A pilot was forced to make an emergency landing after his small plane went down near Star Island Saturday afternoon.

“Pretty loud engine. All of a sudden I heard a loud engine go out, it goes dead silent.  And then I see it start to lose altitude gradually,” said Miami Beach resident Andy George.

From his pool at a nearby waterfront condo, George watched as one of the many banner planes flying above Miami Beach sputtered downward.

“I thought he was gonna make a crash landing which was a pretty safe bet. I didn’t know if it was gonna be a hard landing or what.  But, I knew the guy was gonna be in trouble,” he said.

The pilot landed just feet from traffic on the MacArthur Causeway – on one side boats and homes all over the other.

He was the only person on the single engine plane, managing to get out with just a few scratches, his elbow in a bandage.

“We do credit the pilot for being able to bring this plane down in an area where it did not strike any boats, it did not hit the bridge.  and he was able to leave the plane safely,” said Miami Fire Capt. Ignatius Carroll. 

“During the holiday weekend we have a lot of boats that are out here, a lot of people that are on the water. As you can see the highways are crowded so this could’ve ended pretty tragically had he not been able to maneuver this plane into the water.”

As for the pilot, he didn’t say much.

“I’m good. Safe. No one got hurt, that’s the important part,” he said.


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