I'm always amazed at how many single-engine aircraft make the trip from either St. John's or Gander to the Azores. Anyone here done it?
And sometimes lucky, like this one....
A Florida pilot plucked from North Atlantic waters after he crash-landed his single-engine plane in the ocean says an oil tanker's crew saved his life.
Troy Hess, a pilot based in Florida, developed engine problems about 80 minutes after taking off in his Cessna from St. John's on Saturday. He was heading for the Azores.
A Search and Rescue crew in Gander was able to guide Hess to the Tomsk, a Liberian tanker about 90 kilometres west of the Hibernia platform on the Grand Banks.
Troy Hess"It takes a lot more luck than skill ... I was extremely lucky," Hess told CBC News.
While he was able to keep the plane upright when he touched down on the ocean, he had serious problems simply getting out of the plane, which quickly filled up with seawater.
"I took basically my last breath as the water was filling towards the ceiling. The only obstacle left in my way [of] getting outside that airplane was ... the frustration of not being able to get that door open," Hess said.
"Pretty much the last kick I gave that door was enough to open it far enough to make it outside the airplane."
Ship's crew close enough for quick rescue
Hess clung to the top of the partially submerged plane as he tried in vain to inflate a life raft.
By then the Tomsk was close enough for its crew to throw him a life preserver.
"If it wasn't for the ship and its crew, there's no way ... I would have been able to survive until Search and Rescue got out there," Hess said from aboard the Tomsk.
Hess suffered no injuries. The Tomsk is expected to reach Rhode Island by Tuesday.
Hess, who has made the solo Atlantic journey in the past, says he has no intention of crossing the ocean in a single-engine plane.
"I think I've reached my limit," he said.