Passengers and crew members on a ferry boat threw life jackets to four people and pulled them to safety after their small plane skimmed across the water on Lake Erie and sank Friday.

None of the four had any serious injuries.

It was reminiscent of the US Airways flight that made an emergency water landing in New York’s Hudson River in 2009, said a crew member who helped the survivors onboard.

“I’m not sure what the pilot’s intentions were,” said Jake Market. “It looked like when the pilot put his plane down in the Hudson.”

The plane went down as it approached a small airfield on South Bass Island, which is halfway between Toledo and Cleveland.

Witnesses said its landing gear was not down and that it skipped across the water before coming to a stop about 100 yards from the ferry dock.

The ferry boat’s captain said he thinks the pilot was trying to put the plane down in the water near the shore.

“The guy piloting plane did an excellent job,” said Steve Rose. “It was exactly like the Hudson.”

Still, there were a few tense moments when he didn’t see anyone come out as the plane was sinking.

“They finally started popping up out of the water,” Rose said. “I inched my way up to them and we got them all out of the water.”

The boat operated by the Miller Boat Line had just left the dock when the plane hit the water.

The plane’s passengers were all shaken, but only one appeared to be hurt – a young woman with a scrape on her leg, Market said.

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


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