I've flown this path countless times and spent plenty of time on, in, under and around the water where they ditched this plane. There's more than a few ways to be gotten in that environment if the plane crash part doesn't get you first. All I can say is, 12 hours treading water, while hanging onto a lobster pot float, in the dark and heat of the summer, would feel more like 12 days. Great to hear a good outcome from any plane crash. -stp-
MIAMI (Bay News 9) -- Coast Guard officials are investigating a downed aircraft, en route to Marathon from Tampa.
The Seventh Coast Guard District received a call at approximately 9:30 p.m. Friday night from an air-traffic controller in Miami reporting that a single-engine aircraft was descending rapidly and may have crashed in the water.
The Coast Guard searched the waters off Cape Sable throughout the night using several boats and aircrafts, including a C-130 from Air Station Clearwater.
Everglades National Park Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also assisted in the search Saturday morning for the downed plane.
Around 9 a.m., rescue crews discovered the pilot, Peeter Jakobson, step-daughter Whitney Page, and her husband Ben.
According to Bay News 9's partner newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, the trio had clung to a lobster trap buoy and two personal flotation devices for 12 hours in the darkness.
Jakobson said the plane lost power, so he had to put it down in the water.
According to officials, the plane's occupants were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
The 100-plus Coast Guard and partner agency personnel that were involved with the search are extremely happy to locate and rescue the three crash survivors," said Capt. Pat DeQuattro, Commander Coast Guard Sector Key West. "This search was a great success."