An Osprey man survived after his plane lost power and crashed into the water off Lido Key Beach on Wednesday.
Frank Schurgers took off from Venice in his aerobatic biplane around 1:30, but his pleasure flight didn't last long. The plane developed engine trouble minutes later.
Schurgers knew he wouldn't make it to an airport, so he headed for the beach. But he opted for the water after seeing the sand was crowded with sunbathers
One of those beachgoers happened to be a pilot, who gave Schurgers high marks for the offshore landing.
"He did not stall the aircraft. He brought it down in a landing configuration but unfortunately, with fixed [landing] gear, the gear grabs the water and flips the airplane over. But I think as a pilot, he did an excellent job," Curt Turner offered.
Schurgers suffered only a scratch on the face in the crash landing. Witnesses say he crawled out of the plane and was helped to the shore by lifeguards.
A crowd formed as the yellow plan was winched up onto the beach late this afternoon. It will remain there until investigators arrive.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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