Florida beachgoers got a real shock when a World War II-era plane was forced to make an emergency landing in the Atlantic Ocean on April 17.
Fortunately, no one was injured and the unidentified pilot was safe and sound. The aircraft was performing at the Cocoa Beach Air Show as part of its “warbird parade.” But a mechanical issue forced the pilot to make a soft water landing off the coast near Patrick Space Force Base.
“[The pilot] was sputtering down the beach and I was like, ‘Oh he doesn’t sound good’ and I just started filming,” Melanie Schrader told Florida Today.
Footage showed beachgoers standing on the sand in awe as they watched the plane descend into the water until its spinning front propeller came to a halt. The plane was almost fully submerged with just its tail and the cockpit protruding from the surface.
“It looked like [the pilot] pulled up at the last moment and avoided any spectators, there were loads of people on the water and then I saw him on top of the plane. It looked like he was OK,” Schrader said.
The pilot tried to make it to the space force base where the air show was being held but decided on the water landing to avoid flying over buildings and Florida State A1A, according to CNN.
The TBM Avenger plane took 18 years to restore by Valiant Air Command and was completed in 2020. The aircraft was intended to head to a museum after the air show but thanks to the crash it will undergo potentially years of repairs.
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If you enjoyed this article, watch this pilot perform a death-defying stunt at an unnervingly high altitude.
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