Date: Jan 24, 2005
Contact: Aux. Wayne Spivak
Division Chief - External Communications
Public Affairs Department
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
Auxiliary Air wing involved in rescue of downed aircraft
SAVANNAH - Four Coast Guard Auxiliary airmen this week played a key role in the search and rescue of a downed aircraft near Brunswick, Georgia.
The airmen were on their return flight from the Coast Guard Air Station at Hunter Air Field Sunday afternoon when they were alerted by Savannah Approach Control that a small aircraft was reported down about 20 miles from their location and along their route of flight.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary flight was requested to divert to the area and assist in finding the downed aircraft. From the information provided to them by the air traffic controllers, the Auxiliary aircraft located the general area of the incident and conducted a brief search and located the downed Piper Cub aircraft, about 20 miles south of Savannah.
The yellow and orange aircraft went down in a large marshy area and had flipped over onto its back. The pilot was outside the aircraft and waved to the Auxiliary aircraft indicating that he had survived the rough landing. Through coordination with Coast Guard Station Tybee and the Air Station Savannah, the Auxiliary aircraft stayed over the scene, provided precise location coordinates to a rescue helicopter which arrived on the scene about 15 minutes later and lifted the pilot from the scene.
The pilot, David Johnson from North Carolina is recovering from minor injuries.
Johnson told officials that he ditched his small plane in the marsh after the plane's engine quit as he flew toward Hilton Head for refueling during a flight from Florida. The 1940s-era aircraft had recently been rebuilt.
The Auxiliary aviators were part of a group of about 60 which had been at Air Station Savannah for annual recurrent training. The training, which began on Friday, had just concluded and with fresh search and rescue techniques just learned, the volunteer aviators had just departed on their return flight home.
The crew of the Auxiliary aircraft included local dentist David Lloyd, Joe Friend, and Mike Renuart, all residents of Spruce Creek Fly-In. The fourth crew member was Port Orange resident Gary Ford. All four of the Auxiliary aircrew are members of local Daytona Beach Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 44.
The H-65 rescue helicopter which successfully extracted the downed flyer from the Georgia marsh was piloted by Lieutenant Commander Tim Schang and copilot Lieutenant Pat Lineberry from Air Station Savannah.
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is composed of uniformed, non-military volunteer civilians who assist the Coast Guard in all of its varied missions, except for military and direct law enforcement. These men and women can be found on the nation's waterways, in the air, in classrooms and on the dock, performing Maritime Domain Awareness patrols, safety patrols, vessel safety checks and public education.
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary was founded in 1939 by an Act of Congress as the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and re-designated as the Auxiliary in 1941. Its 35,000 members donate millions of hours annually in support of Coast Guard missions.