A Maryland police officer used some MacGyver-like ingenuity to save a pilot who had crashed his single-engine Piper Cherokee into a frozen lake on December 26.
The Anne Arundel County Police Department released dramatic body-camera footage of the rescue that shows Officer Elizabeth Myers jump into a kayak and use screwdrivers in place of oars to rescue the 71-year-old pilot stranded in the middle of Beards Creek.
“Oars don’t work on ice, but screwdrivers do,” the department said in a press release.
The video shows Myers stabbing a pair of screwdrivers into the ice to pull herself to the pilot, who was being assisted by two other kayakers.
According to police, the plane began to sink, and the pilot exited the aircraft and stood on its wing. He was able to hang on to one of the kayaks until first responders came by boat to retrieve him.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police officers later responded to the scene in a boat to haul the wreckage out of the lake.
According to NBC Washington, the pilot was identified as Steve Couchman of Prince Frederick, Maryland. Couchman reportedly crashed in the water just after takeoff from Lee Airport.
Witnesses said that they heard the plane’s engine sputter just before the crash. The plane then went straight down.
Couchman was immediately transported to the Anne Arundel Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Lieutenant Jennifer Macallair of the Anne Arundel County Fire and EMS said Couchman was at significant risk of suffering from hypothermia and was lucky to be alive.
“With the temperatures like I said in the 30 degrees, hypothermia can set in within minutes. And so their quick actions — I think definitely made a positive outcome today,” Macallair stated.