DVIDS – News – Navy pilots help Coast Guard rescue downed civilian planes


By Ensign Jahanna Conner and Anne Owens

Two Instructor Pilots (IP) and two Student Naval Aviators (SNA) assigned to the “Rangers” of Training Squadron (VT) 28, Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, participated in a search and rescue mission after landing a civilian plane crash at Copano Bay in Rockport, Texas on November 15.

Navy pilots and a Coast Guard helicopter crew teamed up with a civilian ship to pull off the rescue.

Lt. Bradley Williams (IP) and Ensign Kyle Brazas (SNA) were en route to Mustang Beach Airport, flying a T-6B Texan II, on a routine training flight. At approximately 7:55 a.m., Corpus Christi Air Traffic Control (ATC) contacted the crew to request assistance in locating a downed civilian aircraft. ATC informed the crew that they had lost contact with the civilian aircraft and did not have its exact location.

Lt. Kitti Kopar, IP, and Navy Second Lieutenant Daniel Cerezo, SNA, in another T-6B Texan II, also joined the search. The plan was for Williams and Brazas to fly at 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL) north of Rockport Airport and for the second crew to fly at 1,500 AGL south of the airport. Williams spotted the downed plane about two miles from the airport. To check, Williams flew up to 500 AGL and began to circle the plane, which he found with the tail sticking out of the water and the pilot standing on one of the wings.

Williams relayed the information to Kopar, which was flying higher and had better reception. Kopar relayed the location of the wreckage to ATC.

“As an aviator, I feel it is my duty to assist my fellow pilots in any way I can when needed,” Williams said. “I’m glad we were able to help the crew and they were quickly pulled out of the water. I am grateful for my training during my time in the United States Navy as a search and rescue maritime patrol aircraft commander. It was through this training and practicing this scenario over and over that I knew exactly what to do.

Cmdt. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi Response Manager Dawn Prebula was the Search and Rescue Mission (SMC) coordinator for the incident.

“We are grateful for a positive outcome in this case,” Prebula said. “The Coast Guard quickly launched a helicopter and a small boat once we received the report of a downed plane, but also had the assistance of many partners. A Good Samaritan was on scene within minutes and was able to determine that the pilot was fine and transport him to emergency medical services for a full evaluation.

Two civilian boats noticed the Navy plane spinning, located the crash, and rendered assistance to the stranded pilot. At approximately 8:10 a.m., a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, piloted by Coast Guard Lt. Tevin White and Coast Guard Lt. Caleb Wadsworth, with Aviation Maintenance Technician Adam Rodriguez and Aviation survival technician Salvador Anguimo, launched from Corpus Christi International Airport (KCRP). The rescue team was on the scene within 10 minutes to provide further assistance and received details of the incident from the Navy pilots. Coast Guard personnel successfully rescued the civilian and returned to KCRP.

CNATRA, headquartered in Corpus Christi, trains the best combat aviation professionals in the world, delivering them at the right time, in sufficient numbers and at the right cost to a naval force that is where it counts, when it counts.

Date taken: 15.11.2021
Date posted: 15.11.2021 17:22
Story ID: 409366

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