THIS is the dramatic moment a group of stunned day-trippers find a miracle pilot who survived a military plane crash floating in the sea yesterday.
Footage shows the airman being rescued three miles off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii – just moments after his British-made jet plunged into the water.
A pilot, 47, was plucked from the water off Hawaii after being spotted by shocked holidaymakers[/caption]
He was found with his parachute still attached after he ejected the Hawker Hunter fighter moments before it went down at around 2:25pm local time on Wednesday.
Witness Brendt Chang told Hawaii News Now: “After the pilot ejected, the plane went down in a big way.”
The pilot – a 47-year-old civilian working for the Hawaii Air National Guard – was left with serious injuries but remained stable in hospital last night.
He had been taking part in a series of military exercises called the Sentry Aloha testing the pacific islands’ defence capabilities.
Day-trippers found the seriously injured pilot after he ejected moments before his jet crashed into the sea[/caption]
The pilot had been taking part in military exercises with a British-made Hunter Hawker fighter[/caption]
The Hawaii Air National Guard was hosting the trials – which involved 800 personnel and 30 aircraft from nine US states.
Flights from the nearby Honolulu Airport were briefly suspended as a rescue operation was scrambled.
Parasail operator Mark Neumann said the jet came within yards of two people gliding off the coast at the time before it smashed into the water – spewing fuel and debris.
He said: “My captain and crew thought it was going to hit the parachute.
“It went by and right after it went by them, the pilot ejected and the plane crashed into the water real close to our boat.”
He was rescued after crashing at around 2:25pm on Wednesday[/caption]
A naval ship rushes to rescue the stricken pilot[/caption]
The plane was owned by Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, which is a civilian “tactical airborne training organization.”
A spokesman for the firm said it was investigating.
The Hawker Hunter is a British jet developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
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Initially, a single-seat version was used as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft.
It was later used as both a fighter and bomber and for reconnaissance missions.
The British navy and air force continued to use a two-seat version into the early 1990s.
Britain exported the plane, and it was also used by the air forces of 21 other nations.
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