‘I started to freak out a little’: Pilot recalls floating in Gulf as crashed plane sank off Keys

Body camera video shows rescue at sea

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – Adam Barney said he had about 60 seconds to make a decision Sunday morning as his plane’s engines went out over the Gulf of Mexico off the lower Florida Keys.

The 40-year-old pilot from Orlando put the Aero Commander 500 down about three miles off Sawyer Key — and was left to wait.

“I was not scared up until the point I was floating in the water and the plane had disappeared below me,” Barney said. “That’s when I started to freak out a little.”

But Barney stayed calm, waving his life jacket in the air to try and make himself more visible.

Luckily for him, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Trevor Pike came to the rescue.

Body camera video shows Pike pulling Barney aboard his MCSO patrol boat.

“Craziest experience of my life,” Barney said on the video.

“Dude, it was hard to see you,” Pike replied.

Barney said he’s thankful for Pike for coming to his aid.

“Deputy Pike was amazing, professional, he did a great job, was in a great mood, had a good attitude,” Barney said. “That man saved my life.”

Barney wasn’t hurt in the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

About the Author:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.