Coast Guard crew rescues pilot after crash into Gulf

CLEARWATER — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the pilot of a small plane that went into the Gulf of Mexico off Hernando Beach.

Petty Officer Michael DeNyse says a helicopter crew hoisted the man to safety just before noon Wednesday.

Authorities say the pilot of the Piper Arrow aircraft swam away from the wreckage and used his cell phone to call 911 about 11:30 a.m.

DeNyse says the pilot told the dispatcher he had just seen a Coast Guard helicopter fly by and asked if they could send it back.

The helicopter returned to the area and the man was taken to the Coast Guard base in Clearwater. DeNyse says the man was not injured.

There was no word on why the plane crashed.

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