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Pilot survives when small plane goes down into Tampa Bay

The pilot was able to use the light on his cell phone to signal to the U.S. Coast Guard where he was.

TAMPA, Fla. — A pilot was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard Friday night after a small plane went down into Tampa Bay.

At around 6:30 p.m., Pinellas Fire and Rescue alerted the U.S. Coast Guard at St. Petersburg about the emergency crash. 

The Cherokee 180 plane landed in the water about three miles south of MacDill Air Force Base, according to a U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson. The Coast Guard diverted a boat crew that was undergoing training to rescue the pilot, the Coast Guard said in a news release. 

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Sation in Clearwater was launched and a small boat rescue crew responded to the scene.

"The pilot was able to use the light on his cell phone to signal to us where he was, which made finding him quicker," Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Hava of the boat crew coxswain, said in the release. "A lot of others arrived on-scene about the same time as us."

The pilot was transferred to EMS without any injuries reported.

The plane was submerged and the owner was working with a salvaging company to recover the plane Friday night. 

Saturday, the plane was recovered and is set to be transported to Jacksonville.

Friday night, a hazard notice was broadcast to other boaters in the area on VHF radio channel 16 to watch out for the submerged plane.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. 

This is a developing story. Check back with 10 Tampa Bay for updates.