Plane splashes down in front of Citrus County deputies off Cedar Key

Citrus County

Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection were conducting operations off Cedar Key alongside the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office when they spotted an aircraft floating in the water approximately half a mile from the George T. Lewis Airport.

As agents approached the sinking plane, a man was spotted climbing out and standing on top of the fuselage, a press release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

When agents and deputies got closer, they verified the pilot was the only person on the plane and were able to assist him onboard an AMO Coastal Interceptor Vessel.

“The situational awareness and quick actions of the Marine Interdiction Agents and Sheriff’s Deputies prevented a possible human tragedy,” said Michael Matthies, Deputy Director of Marine Operations. “We are thankful we have the proper resources and trained personnel to perform when incidents like this present themselves.”

“There is no greater reward in doing our jobs than being able to help someone, and in this case, saving someone’s life,” Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. “Thanks to extensive training and keen instincts, the AMO (Air and Marine Operations’) agents and our deputies knew exactly how to respond to this situation and facilitated the swift rescue of this individual.”

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