JSO: Pilot rescued after small plane capsizes in St Johns River

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A kayaker who was returning to shore during strong storms in Jacksonville rescued a pilot after his small floatplane capsized Sunday, according to police.

Steve Athans was on his back porch when he saw the small plane, a Rans S6-ES floatplane, come in for landing. They’re designed to land on water.

“He came in and looked like he landed perfectly, then a gust came up or something and tipped the wing over. The wing hit the water, and the whole thing went over,” Athans said.

Athans called 911 and rushed to the boat ramp a few lots down from his house.

A kayaker was making his way to shore and also saw the plane capsize.

He told Action News Jax reporter Brittney Donovan that he saw the pilot on top of his plane. That’s when he told the pilot to grab onto the back of his kayak and towed him to safety.

The pilot was the only person on the plane and he was unharmed, according to police.

Leigha Myers was among families who came out to the Lonnie Wurn Boat Ramp for a look at the plane.

“We see some crazy stuff, but I haven’t seen that, that’s a first,” she said. “Crazy. Thankful everybody’s OK.”

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says the pilot made a successful water landing and that it appears high winds from the thunderstorm flipped the plane upside down.

The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating.

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