Pilot dies after crashing in the water near Albert Whitted Airport

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla - A small plane crashed into the water Sunday afternoon near Albert Whitted Airport.

According to the FAA, the Piper PA-23 banner plane never gained altitude after it took off from the airport and crashed into Tampa Bay around 3:00 p.m.

Coast Guard Sector watchstanders witnessed the crash.

Crews from 6 agencies responded to the scene and dive teams recovered the body of the pilot.  The pilot has been identified as Donald Thomasson.  His family had no comment when we reached out to them at his St. Pete Beach home

The plane is still fully submerged in 25 feet of water.  Salvage efforts were to have begun at sun-up Monday, but that timetable has slid a bit as the aircraft remains at the bottom of Tampa Bay

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash.. they are working with the advertising company that contracted the flight to remove the wreckage.

 

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