Pilot, passenger swim to island after plane crashes into Indian River in Rockledge

By Kristin Giannas, Reporter, kgiannas@clickorlando.com
Michelle Dendy, ClickOrlando.com Web Editor, mdendy@clickorlando.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 08:52:33 AM EDT
Updated On: Jun 20 2014 11:36:01 PM EDT

A pilot and his passenger swim to an island after his plane crashes into the Indian River in Rockledge, according to authorities.

ROCKLEDGE, Fla. -

A pilot and his passenger swam to an island on Friday after his man-made plane crashed into the Indian River in Rockledge, according to authorities.

Brevard County Fire Rescue said the crash happened near Park Avenue in Rockledge just after 4 p.m. Friday.

The pilot said his plane's engine failed and the plane landed upside down in the water.

The pilot and passenger were able to swim away from the crash to an island nearby, where Brevard County Fire Rescue was able to rescue them, according to Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

"We hit a little wave, pitched in the air and can't get the nose down without engine power, so it was just a nice splash down on the nose and right over on the back you go," said pilot Bill Simmons.

No injuries were reported.

Residents along the river witnessed the plane go down.

"All I kept thinking, I didn't want the people to be drowning. I was worried," said Kari Garcia, who jumped in her canoe and started paddling to the plane.

"I said, 'Is anybody there? Please talk to me. Please answer me,' and I looked over and there was a guy already at the island," she said.

Simmons told Local 6 he will be flying again very soon and that he has been flying since 1947.

Video from Local 6 news helicopter Sky 6 showed the plane floating upside down in the water.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating.

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