Pilot rescued after plan crashed off Cedar Key

CEDAR KEY, Fla Air and Marine Operations’ (AMO) Tampa Marine Unit alongside Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Impact Unit were conducting joint operations offshore Cedar Key, Florida on November 9, 2021. While underway, an aircraft was spotted floating in the water approximately half a mile from the George T. Lewis Airport.

As agents and deputies approached the sinking plane, an individual was spotted climbing out and standing on the fuselage. Agents verified  the pilot was the only occupant and were able to assist him onboard an AMO Coastal Interceptor Vessel.

Agents conducted an initial medical assessment of the pilot and contacted other entities for further assistance. Local Emergency Medical Services arrived on scene to conduct a more thorough evaluation of the individual.

“The situational awareness and quick actions of the Marine Interdiction Agents and Sheriff’s Deputies prevented a possible human tragedy,” said Michael Matthies, Deputy Director of Marine Operations. “We are thankful we have the proper resources and trained personnel to perform when incidents like this present themselves.” 


AMO safeguards our nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.

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Contingency and national security operations include search and rescue operations, federal disaster relief, and humanitarian relief.


In Fiscal Year 2020, AMO enforcement actions resulted in the seizure or disruption of 194,220 pounds of cocaine, 278,492 pounds of marijuana, 15,985 pounds of methamphetamine, 952 weapons and $51.5 million as well as 1,066 arrests and 47,872 apprehensions of undocumented migrants.