Passengers Killed, Pilot Survives Crash at Sea
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A beach stroller early Friday spotted the wreckage of a helicopter floating at sea, leading rescuers to the surviving pilot and the bodies of the two passengers, the Coast Guard said.
After the copter crashed, it flipped over and its pontoons inflated, keeping the craft floating, said Coast Guard spokesman Carl Vitevitch.
A police helicopter dropped a rescue swimmer to 25-year-old pilot Rick Guthrie, and the pair swam together about a half-mile until they were picked up by boat, Vitevitch said.
The pilot of the chartered A-Star was taken to a marina and flown to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he was in fair condition, said spokeswoman Monita Whitehead.
Guthrie took off Thursday from Kendall-Tamiami Airport to pick up Paul and Ella Andre, a Miami couple believed to be about 65, at Fisher Island for a flight to the Bahamas, Vitevitch said.
The helicopter never reached its destination and was reported overdue at 4 p.m. Thursday, he said. A man walking on the beach found the floating wreckage about 4 a.m. Friday. Rescue teams recovered the couple’s bodies near the wreckage.