A Seattle man is lucky to be alive after his single-engine aircraft ran out of fuel over the Pacific Ocean, forcing him to ditch the craft at sea.
Now pilot Lou Morton is discussing his ordeal after he survived his rough landing and subsequent rescue-at-sea.
“When everything started to go south, the U.S. Coast Guard and [the] coordination with Holland America [cruise lines] was more than impressive,” Morton told CBS News. “So, they worked with the team when I was on the water, getting me out of there, getting me out of the boat.”
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At 12:30 p.m. this past Sunday, Morton radioed the Hawaii National Guard and told them he was experiencing a fuel problem.
Officials at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu directed him to fly towards a Holland America cruise ship, The Veendam, which could assist in rescue operations.
Morton’s Cirrus SR-22 single engine aircraft ran out of fuel approximately 230 miles northeast of Maui, Hawaii, forcing him to ditch in seas of nine to 12 feet and winds of 25 to 28 mph.
A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules captured Morton’s plunge into the ocean, communicating with him throughout as well as coordinating with The Veendam to rescue the stricken pilot.
BELOW: See the Coast Guard footage of Morton’s bringing his plane down in the Pacific Ocean
“As soon as he deployed his parachute we were following him,” Eric Van Der Wal, commanding officer of The Veendam, told CBS News. “We continued following him as much as possible.”
Luckily, Morton survived his impromptu water landing without serious injury, and was able to escape the cockpit and get into his emergency raft before the plane rolled over and began to submerge.
He was then rescued by the crew of the cruise ship.
Morton, an agent for Cirrus, was transporting the plane to Australia. He has posted videos on YouTube of previous long distance flights delivering Cirrus airplanes, including this one.