Pilot shares his videos after making emergency landing at Anastasia State Park beach

Photo of Gerry Ortiz.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – It was quite the sight on Monday as beachgoers watched the pilot of a small plane make an emergency landing at Anastasia State Park’s beach and then flip over.

On Thursday, Gerry Ortiz, the pilot, shared additional videos with News4JAX. He said if he could have landed about 5- to 10-feet further up the beach that he would have avoided flipping the aircraft due to the hard packed sand. But he said there were too many people in the area, and he didn’t want to take the chance.

One video shows the cockpit of the plane, and onlookers as the pilot came out.

“Alright, all my electronics are off, about to pull this sucker out,” he tells the camera. He says of the plane: “We had a good run.”

Another video shows Ortiz pulling belongings from the plane.

Additionally, News4JAX obtained the mayday call that Ortiz made after he noticed the problem.

“Mayday, mayday, mayday — engine fail,” the pilot says.

“Are you able to make it back to the airport or are you going to put it down on the beach?” an air traffic controller asks.

“I’m putting it down on the beach,” Ortiz replies.

Neither Ortiz nor anyone else was injured. The incident happened shortly before 11:40 a.m. Monday along the coastline just north of the St. Johns County Ocean Pier.

According to a news release from FHP, the plane, which was traveling from West Palm, experienced engine failure while surveying beach erosion following Nicole. The engine sputtered twice, and on the third time, it shut off, troopers said. The pilot was headling to the Northeast Florida Regional Airport.

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