‘Definitely in the right place’: Keys deputy went from road to water to rescue wrecked pilot

ISLAMORADA, Fla. – The Florida Keys deputy who rescued a pilot who crashed his plane into the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend is sharing his story with Local 10 News.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Trevor Pike said the call for an air emergency came in around 10 a.m. on Sunday when he was on road patrol.

“I didn’t think I would be much help with that,” he said.

But when he realized the possible location of plane crash was off Sawyer Key, Pike believed he could make it there with the vessel he had available.

Despite choppy water, Pike said he was able to locate pilot Adam Barney, 40, who had been floating alone in a life vest for nearly two hours.

“I don’t know if you want to call it right place right time, luck, whatever it was — I was definitely in the right place,” Pike said. “I saw his life vest, it was yellow.”

Body camera video released Monday shows Pike approaching Barney and helping him onto the boat.

“What was going through your mind when you actually see him?,” asked Local 10′s Janine Stanwood.

“I was like ‘oh my God,” Pike replied. “I was like, ‘he’s there and he’s alive and he’s talking to me!’”

MCSO officials said Barney was piloting an Aero Commander 500 on his way from Orlando to Key West when he reported engine trouble, and had to make an emergency water landing about 13 miles off the Lower Keys.

Other agencies, including Florida Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Coast Guard, were also in the water searching.

Barney had high praise for deputy Pike.

“He was incredibly professional,” Barney said in a phone interview Monday. “He did a great job, was in a great mood, had a great attitude. That man saved my life.”

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.