CATALINA (CBSLA.com) — A pilot and a passenger were rescued after a small plane crashed in the ocean near Catalina Island Saturday.
Pilot Dave Prizio and a passenger were both rescued from the water by the recreational vessel, ‘Napper Island’ and a Catalina Express ferry vessel , the ‘Starship Express’, assisted in relaying the mayday call, according to US Coast Guard Los Angeles.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper spoke with Prizio just hours after the entire ordeal.
“You always know that it’s a possibility, but, you know, it’s not the same until you really do it, then it’s like ‘wow’,” Prizio said.
Prizio and a friend were flying his Texas Sport Cub TX11J, from Chino to Catalina Island when the small aircraft reportedly experienced engine failure.
The crash occurred around 1:15 p.m. about eight miles northeast of Catalina, near Avalon, according to Allen Kenitzer of the FAA.
After “landing” the plane on the water, Prizio and his passenger were able to get out of the cockpit and hold on to the plane’s wings while in the cold channel water.
One of the three people on board the ‘Napper Island’ was able to capture part of the rescue on their cell phone camera. Drew Naffziger, one of the good Samaritans on board the rescuing vessel, spoke with CBS over the phone from Catalina Island, where Prizio and his friend were taken after their rescue.
“The plane, when it hit, it stayed afloat for a while, but it was really low to the waterline,” Naffziger said. “So, if we hadn’t happened by there, I don’t think they would have been seen. It was really a miracle the way it all happened.”
Amazingly, Prizio walked away with just a broken finger and a scratch on his face
Both the FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash.