Flight expert shares reaction to pilot landing small plane in Lady Bird Lake

On Thursday, a Cessna 206 aircraft crashed into Lady Bird Lake. One expert shares his analysis on what happened. 

"Our first thoughts, as always, are hoping that the pilot's OK. When we learned that the pilot was okay, we're always greatly relieved," Hunter Reiley, one of the owners at Texas Aviation Academy, said.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says a Game Warden pilot, Dwayne Havis, was doing a test flight after the plane had routine maintenance.

He was rescued by paddle boarders.

Reiley says the pilot's actions likely saved lives.

"I think the pilot did a really good job of successfully moving the airplane to a place where it's not going to cause any harm to any other people. You look around that area, and it's very residential, lots of cars, lots of buildings. He did a stellar job of getting the airplane down safely for himself and the other people," he said.

"I went out there with a life jacket and sure enough 80 yards away from the paddle shack I saw the plane, so I immediately put the life jacket on him he was pretty incoherent. He was hanging on to our two paddle boards and we both paddled him in," Nick Compton, who helped rescue the pilot, said Thursday.

Landing an airplane in the water is called ditching.

"The idea is to get it as slow as possible to touch the water. From what I've seen, it looks like he did it," Reiley said. 

"The pilot is no longer in the hospital. He didn’t sustain any major injuries. At this point, we were able to remove the plane from the lake last night, but the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are still conducting an investigation so we won’t be able to provide further comment until their investigation concludes," the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said Friday.

The National Transportation Safety Board released the following statement:

"The NTSB is investigating the June 16, 2022, crash of a Cessna 206 near Austin, Texas. The pilot reported smoke in the cockpit and the loss of engine power. The airplane has been recovered. There will be a wreckage examination at a later date. A preliminary report, which includes all the factual information known to date, is expected to publish in 15 days.

At this early stage of an investigation, NTSB does not state a cause but will provide factual information when available. Investigations currently take between 12 and 24 months to complete."