Banner plane crashes off South Florida coast

2 men rescue pilot from crashed plane off Miami Beach

Banner plane crashes off Miami Beach on Sept. 6, 2014.
Banner plane crashes off Miami Beach on Sept. 6, 2014. (WPLG-TV)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A small banner plane crashed Saturday into the Atlantic Ocean off a South Florida coast, authorities said.

Several beachgoers told WPLG-TV they saw the plane crash into the water around 2:30 p.m. Saturday off Miami Beach.

"It didn't make any noise, but I smelled gas or something. That's when we turned around and we saw the plane flipping around," said Victor Valderrama.

Two men rescued the pilot from the crashed plane. It was not immediately known what led to the crash.

"We pulled him out, asked him if he was okay, asked him if anyone else was in the plane. Then we proceeded to bring him to shore," said Elias Hanono. "He said the engine just cut off, but he had plenty of gas."

A witness told WPLG-TV he saw some people on jet skis rescue the pilot.

"We saw the plane come down and crash in the water," said Dalan Tellis. "The guys from the jet skis came right away and picked the guy up."

Another witness also saw the rescue.

"They picked him up and we just know that he's alive and a little bit scratched, but he's alive," said Guylagrme Jamus.

"He had head injuries, bleeding from the head but he was conscious," said Hanono.

The U.S. Coast Guard was called to assist in the rescue operation.

"The Coast Guard's priority was to get to the scene to assist as safely and quickly as possible," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Katie Campbell.