Navy aviators, Coast Guard rescue pilot from downed civilian plane

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Navy instructor pilots and their students teamed up with the Coast Guard to rescue the pilot of a small civilian plane that crashed in a bay near Rockport, Texas on Monday.

Lieutenant Bradley Williams and Ensign Kyle Brazas were leading a routine training flight in a T-6B Texan II, en route to Mustang Beach Airport, when Corpus Christi air traffic control contacted them around 7:55 a.m. to help locate the downed civilian plane, according to the Navy.

As Williams and Brazas flew north from a nearby airport in Rockport, Lt. Kitti Kopar and Marine Second Lieutenant Daniel Cerezo flew south of the airport as they launched the search. At about 1,000 feet above ground level, Williams observed the aircraft about two miles from the Copano Bay airport, then descended to 500 feet above sea level to begin orbiting it. of the accident site.

Williams saw the pilot stand on the wings of the crashed plane and asked Kopar to brief air traffic control, according to the Navy. Two civilian boats intervened to provide pilot assistance, and a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter arrived at the scene to evacuate the civilian pilot before returning to Corpus Christi International Airport.

“As an aviator, I believe it is my duty to assist my fellow pilots in any way possible when needed,” Williams said, according to a Navy press release. “I’m glad we were able to help the crew and they were quickly taken 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.

The naval aviators were assigned to “Rangers” from Training Squadron 28, based at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

“We are grateful for a positive outcome in this matter,” said Cmdr. Dawn Prebula, head of the Coast Guard area’s Corpus Christi response department, said in a Navy press release. “The Coast Guard quickly launched a helicopter and a small boat after we received the report of a downed plane, but also had the assistance of many partners. A Good Samaritan was there within minutes and was able to determine the pilot was okay and transport him to emergency medical services for a full assessment.


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