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Lifestyle & Human Interest

After Plane Crashes Into Lake, Good Samaritan Pulls Game Warden/Pilot from Water: 'He Was Very Out of It'

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Lady Bird Lake in Austin is a common destination for boaters, paddleboarders and all kinds of people trying to beat the Texas heat.

On Thursday, though, it was a plane that found its way into the lake.

At about 2 p.m., a game warden with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department flying a 2009 Cessna T206 started to experience mechanical issues with his plane. The pilot, Lt. Dwayne Havis, was the only one on board when the plane went into the lake.

Thankfully, that section of the lake was mostly clear, allowing the pilot to put the plane down in the water and avoid the nearby Interstate 35.

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“I was like, ‘Wait a minute — that plane is really, really low, and it is about to hit the bridge,” local Kurt Thomas, who watched the accident unfold from his balcony, told KXAN-TV.

“It went up, barely hit the bridge, and then on the other side of the bridge it plummeted into the water.”

“There were kids riding their bikes right past me saying, ‘Wow that was so close’ … there’s a chance this plane dove into the water, and that’s when I tried to get there as fast as possible,” said Steven Carbon, who had been running around the lake.

But it was a paddleboarder who provided the first alert in the pilot’s rescue.

Nicholas Compton, who was at the lake, first thought the sound of the impact was from an accident that must have taken place on I-35, but he learned otherwise when a paddleboarder started yelling that a plane had hit the water.

Compton immediately took a lifejacket out to the wreck, certain he’d find a grisly scene.

“I was expecting to see something much worse than a man still alive floating, so I was very relieved to see that he was still conscious and everything, so it wasn’t much thinking except just getting him to the shore to medical services,” Compton told KXAN.

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Compton said the pilot was out of breath and appeared to be in shock — but he was alive, and within five minutes Compton had gotten him to shore and into the care of medical services.

“He was very out of it,” Compton continued. “Not much dialogue happened.”

The pilot survived, but officials said he was taken to the hospital with potentially serious injuries.

An investigation is being held to determine the cause of the mechanical issues.

According to a spokesperson for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the plane “had just come out of routine maintenance and the pilot was on a test flight when they reported mechanical issues” that forced him to land the plane in the lake.

The plane was removed from the water on Thursday night.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking