Dramatic footage has captured the incredible moment two men clinging to a sinking life raft in the middle of the ocean were rescued and plucked to safety following a light plane crash off the Queensland coast.
Emergency services raced to the scene after a Cessna light aircraft plummeted into the ocean near the Barwon Banks reef off Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast around 9am on Friday.
LifeFlight has since released footage of the extraordinary rescue.
The chopper crew first spotted the Cessna’s tail in the ocean before noticing the two men aged in their 50s clinging to a small life raft.
One man was inside the sinking raft as the other desperately clung onto the edge.
The men gave a thumbs up to the LifeFlight crew to indicate they were okay as the rescue basket down was winched to bring the pair up into the helicopter one at a time.
The LifeFlight rescue helicopter spotted the wreckage of the Cessna plane before noticing the two survivors clinging to a sinking life raft
Two men have miraculously survived a light plane crash which plunged into the ocean off Queensland’s Sunshine Coast
The crash survivors were safely inside the chopper within minutes of LifeFlight arriving at the scene.
‘We were able to launch in a short period of time this morning,’ LifeFlight pilot Andrew Caton said.
‘Our response was so fast that we reached the crash site within minutes of them ditching, before their aircraft had disappeared completely under water. We could still see part of the wreckage. It made them easier to locate and rescue safely.’
‘Certainly, training and experience all come into being successfully piece together a complex rescue mission like this one.’
The relieved men were very happy to be rescued as they recalled the ordeal, according to Queensland Ambulance Service critical care paramedic Michael O’Brien.
He said the Cessna pilot described the impact of the crash as bouncing on the water.
‘As they’ve landed, he described it as ‘we’ve come in and bounced once on our belly’ and the second time they’ve hit the water, it’s dug in a bit harder, but they were not … thrown around,’ he told the Brisbane Times.
‘You don’t generally get an aircraft accident where there’s no injuries.’
“The actual ocean conditions were relatively calm, and I think that’s probably what helped mitigate any serious injuries,”
The two survivors gave LifeFlight crew a thumbs up to indicate they were fine
The men were winched to safety one by one and were inside the chopper within minutes
LifeFlight’s Dan King added: ‘It’s not every day that you are tasked to a light plane that has confirmed that it knew it was going to ditch.’ ‘We knew we were going to a plane that had ditched into the ocean, but we had no idea what to expect, fortunately as we approached, we could see the men and the life raft.’
The patients were transported to Sunshine Coast University Hospital in a stable condition for further assessment.
It’s understood the men were discharged from hospital on Friday afternoon.
The plane was a Cessna aircraft bound for Atlanta in US with several stopovers along the way.
The first stop was the American Samoa capital of Pago Pago.
The Cessna 421C had earlier taken off from Sunshine Coast Airport when it began having engine problems.
The pilot turned the aircraft around but when he realised they weren’t going to make it back to land, he started to dump fuel and made a call for help just minutes before crashing.
A Royal Flying Doctor Service fixed wing aircraft was nearby and shadowed the stricken Cessna, keeping authorities informed as the plane went down and the rescue chopper responded.
Live tracking data showing a rescue helicopter over the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Supplied
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk