There are all kinds of things people worry about when they go to the beach: Sharks, sunburns, those annoying seagulls stealing your food, and making sure you don’t get too drunk and pass out in the sand.
Most people probably aren’t worried about planes crashing into the water around them while they’re swimming in the ocean though.
But that’s exactly what happened to beachgoers near Cocoa Beach, Florida, this weekend.
A World War II-era plane participating in the Cocoa Beach Airshow experienced a mechanical issue during its flight, and the pilot had to bring the plane down into the water filled with swimmers and air show spectators.
Spectacular video captured by bystanders shows the single-engine TBM Avenger gliding just above the water before splashing down and coming to a sudden halt just feet from the shore.
It is painful to see a vintage TBM Avenger go down, but the pilot did well to safely ditch the plane after experiencing a mechanical issue while performing at the Cocoa Beach Air Show yesterday. The Avenger had only been flying for a year after undergoing an 18-year restoration. pic.twitter.com/2GtkCblv11
Incredibly, there were no injuries to either the pilot or to anybody on the beach, according to a statement posted on Facebook by the Cocoa Beach Air Show.
“The TBM Avenger performing in the warbird parade had a mechanical issue and the pilot was able to bring the plane down close to the shore. Rescue personnel were immediately on scene and the pilot is okay.”
According to Florida Today, the pilot declined treatment at the scene.
The TBM Avenger aircraft was a former Navy bomber used during World War II, and has also been used as a fire bomber for forestry services in both California and Georgia. According to description on the Cocoa Beach Air Show’s website, the plane had been undergoing extensive restoration for the last 18 years before finally returning to the skies in 2020.
The plane’s owners, Valiant Air Command, Inc., also released a statement saying that the pilot was checked out at the hospital after walking away from the incident, but was later released with no injuries. The group says that salvage efforts are continuing for the plane, and that their plan is to float the aircraft to the Port Canaveral harbor area before removing it from the water using a crane.
They also plan to rebuild the historic plane, though at this time they aren’t sure whether the rebuild will be to get the plane back in the air or whether it she’ll be on display in a museum from this point forward.
So while it’s a shame to see a piece of history go down in the water like that, just an incredible job by the pilot to bring the plane down safely like that and walk away unharmed.
Yesterday the Valiant Air Command’s TBM Avenger was forced to ditch south of Cocoa Beach today due to a mechanical issue. Pilot made a textbook belly landing and he is OK. Salvage efforts will continue today. You can contribute here: https://t.co/lmmALk8revpic.twitter.com/hhGYTQJOHc