An Ontario pilot had a lot of things going for him when something went wrong with his ERCO Ercoupe over Lake Michigan on July 18.
The pilot, identified as Robert Kelly, set the little airplane down on the beach of St. Martin Island but it’s not a smooth and sandy surface. The aircraft was substantially damaged but Kelly was able to get out.
Under most scenarios like this, a long, lonely wait would have been the next thing for Kelly but he was out of there in just a few minutes.
Kelly’s wife was flying another plane and circled her husband while she made a distress call. A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol helicopter just happened to be returning from a training mission at the time and diverted to the island to pick Kelly up.
“The quick thinking and precision flying of this aircrew was instrumental in this rescue,” said Mike Bishop, Director of Air Operations. “We could not have asked for a better outcome and I am very proud that my guys could reunite this husband and wife.”