Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Small plane crashes into water near Davis Islands; pilot is okay

Pilot Dennis Hardiman, 53, center, watches from a Tampa police boat as his plane is secured near the Davis Islands bridge.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Pilot Dennis Hardiman, 53, center, watches from a Tampa police boat as his plane is secured near the Davis Islands bridge.

DAVIS ISLANDS — Police vehicles and ambulances lined the right lane of the Davis Islands bridge on Saturday afternoon as onlookers watched a seaplane sink into the bay.

Dennis Hardiman, 53, was flying his personal plane at 6 p.m. over the water when he made a sharp right turn near shore and gusty winds pushed the aircraft's right wing down, said Officer Shannon Murphy of the Tampa Police Department.

The plane stalled and plummeted into the water 200 yards from the bridge, but Hardiman escaped with only a few bruises and scratches, Murphy said.

Randy LeBlanc, 54, was taking a walk nearby with a friend when Hardiman was still in the air.

"He was really low, so I took out my camera phone to take a picture of him," LeBlanc said. "But I didn't get to take the picture, because all of a sudden he was like, 'Call 911! He's going down.' "

LeBlanc, who is visiting from Orlando, said a private boat was in the water during the accident and raced over to the downed plane to help pull Hardiman out of the water.

He was then taken to shore by Tampa police boats, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

Hardiman renewed his commercial pilot's license in 2008, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. He's certified to fly single-engine sea and land planes and multi-engine land planes.

The official cause of the crash has not been determined.

Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or rmitchell@sptimes.com.

Small plane crashes into water near Davis Islands; pilot is okay 04/11/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 11, 2009 9:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.