Pilot rescued after his single-engine plane crashes into Tampa Bay near the Bayside Bridge
7:50 AM, Feb 22, 2013
1:08 PM, Feb 22, 2013
CLEARWATER, Fla. - "But I was drowning, I had no more time, I had no more air, i couldn't breathe," Anthony Marsh said.
A hard water landing is the last thing Anthony Marsh had in mind.
"The tail section hit the water, and it tumbled straight forward, like a somersault," he said.
A flight to move his Piper PA-28 from Pennsylvania Landed him just west of the Bayside Bridge in Pinellas County around 2:15 a.m. Friday morning.
He was flying from North Carolina to Clearwater Air Park, but didn't quite make it.
"The engine quit, I went through my emergency procedures, switched tanks and there should have been enough fuel to last another 45 minutes to an hour like the way I planned it out, but it didn't happen," Marsh said.
That's when he realized he had no time and had to come up with a contingency plan.
"I thought about putting it down on the Courtney Campbell, but there was way too much traffic," he said. "This looks like a runway here, the Bayside Bridge, but again there were tractor-trailers, so I wasn't sure what was going to happen."
Before he knew it, he hit the water and blacked out.
"So I remember waking up, snapping out of it and starting to get myself out," said.
His plane crashed into about 10 feet of water, and people on the bridge pulled over and yelled out.
Emergency services eventually were able to pull him out, take him to Mease Countryside hospital and he was pretty banged up.
"This finger was split away from the other finger so I got about 20 stitches from that, I can't believe the bone wasn't broken," he explained.
But with everything that happened, he felt lucky to be in one piece.
"Glad to be alive. Good to be alive."
We asked if he wants to keep flying and he says he has every intention of doing so, although he will have to replace his current plane because of the saltwater damage.
As of one o'clock Friday afternoon the plane still sat submerged, awaiting a tow to pull it out of the bay.