Small plane crashes in Windermere lake

Two boaters save father, daughter from wreckage

WINDERMERE, Fla. – Two boaters saved a father and daughter after their plane nosedived into a lake Friday evening.

Orange County Fire Rescue officials say they responded to the call on Lake Down at approximately 6:15 p.m.

Witnesses tell News 6 they heard the plane's engine sputtering as it circled the lake.

Austin Keaton was fishing with a friend when they watched the plane crash into the water.

"I jumped on the motor, he called 911 and we got over there in about 20 seconds," Keaton said.

They arrived to find the plane had sunk, and a man, 46, was treading water holding his injured daughter.

"When we got there he was saying, 'grab my daughter, grab my daughter.' He wasn't going to be able to swim much longer," he said. "Right as we got there, he dropped her."

The two boaters grabbed the 9-year-old girl and pulled her onto the their boat.

"I picked her up out of the water and noticed that she had head trauma. The bone was showing, blood down her face. The dad was in really bad back pain," Keaton said.

He says they took them to the boat ramp on the south side of the lake, where Orange County Fire Rescue was already waiting with paramedics.

OCFR tells News 6 the father was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center, while the daughter was transported to Arnold Palmer Medical Center.  Both of them were trauma alerts.

Keaton brushed off any notion that he and his friend were heroes.

"We were just trying to do the right thing. It's about helping people. Making sure no one gets hurt, and that's what we were here to do -- help someone out that was in distress," he said.

Investigators will be pulling the plane from the lake and determining what went wrong to bring the plane down.

You can see Keaton's video of the plane crashing into the water below.

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013. He is one of the station’s lead reporters. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.