HALIFAX (CBS) — A pilot was rescued from a Halifax lake after a small plane landed in the water Saturday. Police said residents on Lake Street helped pull him from East Monponsett Lake.

The Halifax Fire Department said witnesses reported that the crash happened just after noon. Witnesses told the department the pilot escaped the plane after the crash and stood on the wing of the plane. A passersby then went to help him by rowing out in his neighbor’s canoe and brought him back to shore.

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“I saw him sinking. He was just sinking down in the lake and he had no jacket,” said John Keegan, who rescued the pilot. “He was screaming for help.”

The pilot was identified as Michael Lupo, 55, of Rehoboth. He told Keegan that he had problems as soon as he took off from the airport. He was not injured.

“The front of the plane exploded,” Keegan said. “The landing gear went out on the ice and then the nose cone went one way and it just tore the front of the plane apart.”

Keegan said the hardest part of rescuing Lupo was cutting through the ice with a paddle to get to him.

“You had to take the paddle and smash it through the ice and pull it forward,” Keegan said. “As we were going, the canoe would go up on the ice and then go down as the weight started coming back. It took a while to get to him.”

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As of 5:00 p.m. Saturday, divers could be seen placing lift bags under the fuselage to float the plane for removal from the water.


Divers placing lift bags under the fuselage to float the plane for removal from the water. (Photo Credit: Plymouth County Technical Rescue Team)

“The neighbors did an amazing job. They got to him very quickly,” said Halifax Police Chief Jason Viveiros.

No other injuries have been reported. It is unclear what caused the crash.

The F.A.A. released a statement saying: “A Piper PA-28 aircraft made a forced landing on East Lake in Halifax, Mass., around 11 a.m. today. Only the pilot was aboard. Contact local authorities for the pilot’s name and medical condition. The FAA will investigate.”

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The F.A.A. is also looking into a plane crash that took place in Florida, Mass. Friday night. Two adults and one minor were hurt but their injuries are not serious.