CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The FAA and Virginia State Police are investigating a small plane crash in the Swift Creek Reservoir. A man heard a splash, jumped into his pontoon boat and pulled the pilot to safety.
A pleasure trip turns just the opposite for 78-year-old pilot, Richard Rose, Jr. His plane ended nose down in the reservoir, about 150 yards from Randy Rowekamp's backyard.
"Never seen it before hope we don't see it again," said Rowekamp.
Virginia State Police haven't released a cause, but a police officer on scene told NBC12, Rose reported a mechanical failure.
Rowekamp saw a huge splash from his bay window.
"My first thought maybe it has pontoons, it was landing on the lake. Then I realized it didn't have pontoons," said Rowekamp.
Randy and his wife Sara called 911 before hopping into their pontoon boat to rescue the elderly man.
"The plane was still flat on the water. We saw somebody standing on the wing," said Rowekamp.
The Rowekamps said as the plane started to sink, Rose slipped into the water to swim to shore. They pulled him into their boat.
"He was obviously very, very cold. We were very concerned about him," said Rowekamp.
Chesterfield's hazmat team placed orange booms around the 1988 Beachcraft Bonanza F-33.
"Anytime a plane crashes there's always a danger of having a fuel leak," said Lt. Jason Elmore with Chesterfield Fire.
A big concern because the reservoir provides drinking water to Chesterfield. The aircraft had about 40 gallons of fuel on board. But, none spilled.
The FAA and state police are now trying to figure out what went wrong. Rose was flying from Fork Union, Virginia where he lives to the Chesterfield airport. The Rowekamps are just thankful he survived.
"Just grateful we were in the right place at the right time," said Sara Rowekamp.
The pilot wasn't seriously hurt. We're told he had a laceration on his forehead.