The plane slammed into Beards Creek in Edgewater near Lee Airport shortly before 10:30 a.m., according to Maryland State Police.
The Piper Cherokee plane was piloted by Frederick Steve Couchman, 71.
Police said his plane began flying shortly after taking off from Lee Airport.
Police said Couchman was rescued by three vigilant kayakers.
“Two nearby civilians and an officer on duty from the Anne Arundel County Police Department who heard the call, used three kayaks to skim the frozen creek to help the pilot. The plane sank. During the flight, the pilot disembarked from the plane and stood on the wing.When the kayaks were close enough, the pilot was able to cling to one of them and stay afloat,” police said in a statement. .
Shortly after, officials from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources arrived by boat, police said. There, officers cut through the ice and pulled the pilot into the boat. Couchman was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Edgewater is about 35 miles south of Baltimore.
Lt. Jennifer McCalea of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said in a video posted by NBC affiliate WBAL in Baltimore that the kayaker’s quick response saved the pilot from hypothermia. Macallair said the pilot’s injuries were not life-threatening.
“Their effort today was heroic,” she said, referring to two private kayakers. “Our crew was working with ice in a stream this morning, which is obviously very dangerous for anyone in the water. Hypothermia can develop within minutes. The fact that these two people realized what had happened and got out in the kayak definitely saved his life.”
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed in a statement the type of plane that crashed and said it occurred just west of the airport.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com.
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