A small plane crashed at Tampa International Airport overnight, leaving the pilot with serious injuries. But it could have been a lot worse, if not for a vigilant Tampa Police Department helicopter crew.
TPD says two of its officers heard the pilot's distress call before he crashed just inside TIA's property, and those officers may have been able to save that pilot's life.
The pilot was identified as 58-year-old Mark E. Love.
According to Lt. Richard O'Conner, officers Dave Dennison and Brian Gentry were in a helicopter patrol when they saw the crash.
Video from helicopter shows the crew landed the helicopter, extinguished an engine fire, and got the unconscious pilot out of the wreckage as the plane teetered on an embankment.
"They immediately ran out and got out to the plane and assisted in putting out that fire," O'Conner said.
FOX 13 has also obtained the distress call, where the air traffic controller asks the pilot if he needs assistance. The pilot initially told dispatchers that he was running low on oil.
"No sir, let me talk to you on the ground," the pilot responds. "I'm running a little rough, but I should be able to make it, though."
The air traffic controllers reported that as the pilot made his approach into the runway he came up short.
The NTSB is now conducting its investigation. Airport officials say the small plane was a Cessna 210N belonging to Air Net.
Love remains at St. Joseph's Hospital with serious injuries.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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