4 Rescued After Dramatic Airplane Ditch in Gulf

NEW ORLEAN (AP) - With his engine failing, the pilot of a single-engine plane managed to maneuver the craft and three passengers to a safe splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the pilot of the Piper Malibu reported engine trouble around 2 p.m. Saturday, and the plane began to descend rapidly from about 26,000 feet. The flight had left Cozumel, Mexico, on its way to New Orleans.

About 25 minutes after reporting the emergency, the plane splashed down near an oil rig about 175 miles southeast of New Orleans. A boat from the rig picked them up, and they were later taken to shore by the U.S. Coast Guard. Lunsford said the pilot and three others appeared to be in good condition but were taken to a New Orleans hospital as a precaution.

The Coast Guard said the four are all from Louisiana.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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