BIMINI (ABC) — Three people are not only lucky to survive a plane crash on Thursday, they also have a fishing boat to thank for plucking them out of the Atlantic Ocean.
The single-engine plane, with a pilot and two passengers, went down about 20 miles east of Bimini, the westernmost island in the Bahamas, on Thursday while traveling from Great Harbour Cay Airport to Miami Executive Airport.
The passengers inflated a yellow emergency raft and alerted the Coast Guard. But the professionals ended up not being needed.
A group of fishermen out for a day on their boat made the rescue instead.
“We were about 25 miles from Cat Cay on our way to Great Harbour, when we came across the life raft with three guys in it,” Tim Hampson, one of the fishermen, told ABC News. “And we pulled up to them, asked what was up, and they were like, ‘We just scratched our airplane like an hour ago.'”
“No one was hurt, they were just all in a little bit of shock,” he continued. “One gentleman was 80 years old, which gave us some concern, but he was a real trooper — probably the toughest one of the group, for sure.”
The fishermen ended up taking the rescued trio to Cat Cay in the Bahamas.
“It was a gift from God for sure,” Hampson said. “And things can go wrong really quickly, and lucky for them that it didn’t, for sure.”
The Piper PA-34 aircraft can be seen on the shallow bottom of the clear blue-green waters in video released by the U.S. Coast Guard.
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) August 8, 2019
The crash is still under investigation.
“We could have been looking the other way for just an instant and we might have not seen them,” Hampson told ABC News. “It could have been a little rough, and the waves could have hit ’em. So yeah, it was meant to be, and we’re glad we were there to help.
“Just did what anyone else would really do and thankful we were able to help.”