A restored World War II airplane was forced to make an emergency landing near spectators over the weekend at Cocoa Beach, Florida.
“The Air Force’s Thunderbirds headlined the Cocoa Beach Air Show Saturday when the TBM Avenger’s engine cut out,” ABC 11 reported.
However, the pilot was the only person onboard the plane.
Organizers told Click Orlando the pilot landed safely in the water and was rescued moments later. He was not injured.
Video footage showed the moment the plane flew low over the waves as bystanders watched in shock:
The engine was heard sputtering as it came down and eventually hit the water.
According to the air show’s website, the TBM Avenger had returned to flying in January 2020:
The Valiant Air Command’s TBM Avenger #91188 was delivered to the United States Navy during World War II. Following her retirement she saw extensive service in the hazardous role of fire bomber for the U.S. Forestry Service. In 2002 she was acquired by the VAC and for 18 years has been undergoing an extensive restoration. On January 11th, 2020 she returned to skies for the first time in several years a testament to the hard work and dedication of the VAC’s skilled restoration volunteers.
“I seen the plane come down low and I was like ‘hey watch he’s going to do a low fly by’ at that second he actually did a belly bump off a wave which looked intentional because there were some people in front of him,” witness Brian Ditmer told Fox 19.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the exact cause of the engine’s malfunction.