Wild footage has captured the rescue of two men from waters off the Sunshine Coast, after their light plane lost an engine and plunged into the sea.
The survivors of the light plane crash have since been released from hospital after the miraculous rescue.
Queensland Ambulance Service flight critical care paramedic Mick O’Brien said one of the men was inside the sinking life raft, while the second man was in the water clinging onto the vessel.
“That life raft was slowly being submerged by water,” he said.
“We were able to lower a rescue basket and singularly extract both of those persons from the sea
“They were very excited and very happy to be alive.”
Queensland Ambulance Service and two rescue helicopters scrambled to help the two occupants after the plane went down about 9am about 35 nautical miles off the Mooloolaba coast.
The light twin engine aeroplane had lost one of its engines shortly after taking off from Sunshine Coast Airport, forcing the pilot to ditch the aircraft into the ocean in an attempt to land safely on Friday.
When emergency crews arrived, the two passengers – two men aged 51 and 59 years old – were spotted in a life raft outside the plane.
A Royal Flying Doctor Service plane had spotted the life raft while circling from above and was able to radio emergency crews exact coordinates to assist in the search.
The two men were quickly rescued by the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Helicopter Service, which winced the pair as their life raft began to take on water.
The men had signalled a thumbs up to rescue crews as they circled above before being lifted to safety.
Miraculously, neither of the two men were injured, despite the plane hitting the water at an estimated speed of about 100km/h.
Mr O’Brien said: “You don’t generally get an aircraft crash where there is actually no injuries.”
“The aircraft was full of fuel so it was quite heavy.
“My understanding is that single (remaining) engine was not strong enough to maintain height and they slowly descended into the ocean.”
When emergency crews arrived at the crash site, the tail of the aircraft was seen bobbing in the water for several minutes before it disappeared below the surface.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter pilot Andrew Caton said the assistance of the RFDS plane was crucial in finding the two men, before the search became much wider and more challenging.
“We were able to launch in a short period of time this morning,” Mr Caton said.
“Our response was so fast that we reached the crash site within minutes of them ditching, before their aircraft had disappeared completely under water.
“We could still see part of the wreckage. It made them easier to locate and rescue safely.
“Certainly, training and experience all come into being successfully piece together a complex rescue mission like this one.”
Aircrew Officer Dan King said it was incredible to see both men were okay.
“It’s not everyday that you are tasked to a light plane that has confirmed that it knew it was going to ditch,” Mr King said.
“We knew we were going to a plane that had ditched into the ocean, but we had no idea what to expect, fortunately as we approached, we could see the men and the life raft.”
A Queensland Ambulance spokesman said the pair were in a stable condition and were uninjured when they were winched to safety by the crews.
They were subsequently taken to Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
The pair were assessed before they were released early Friday afternoon into the care of relatives.