’I thought for sure they were dead:’ Man recounts helping passengers to shore after emergency plane landing in Canyon Lake

Two men who had flown across Texas swam ashore as their plane was submerged

Canyon Lake plane emergency landing (KSAT)

CANYON LAKE, Texas – Shawn Canady was at his family’s lakehouse Tuesday when he heard a plane “crash directly behind the house" as he was packing up to head back home.

A small white plane made an emergency landing in Canyon Lake Tuesday and Comal County officials confirmed two adult males were in the plane at the time of the landing. The aircraft took off from Midland headed to New Braunfels, officials said.

“I ran to the back yard to find the front half of the plane submerged. I thought for sure they were dead,” Canady told KSAT Wednesday.

Canady said he ran down a hill toward the water and called 911 when his wife Paige called out that she could see survivors.

“She saw people swimming and, amazingly, both of their heads popped up. By the time I got to the shoreline they were struggling and calling for help, as one man was disoriented from hitting his head and was on his back swimming back to shoreline," he said.

According to Canady, the plane was submerged by the time he gave the address to the 911 dispatcher.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Passengers swim ashore after plane makes emergency landing in Canyon Lake

That’s when, Canady says, he made a decision to jump in the water and try to help the two men who were swimming from the plane, which was “about 100 yards out from the shoreline.”

“The pilot was asking me to help his passenger, but I was gassed once I got there so I did my best to keep the injured gentleman’s head above water as he was struggling to stay above the surface,” Canady said. “He was smart to flip onto his back. At about 30 yards from shore, I began struggling myself in assisting and had to let him go in order to catch my own breath.”

Canady said he called for help and another man who was at the shoreline by that time was able to jump in and help get everyone to shore. “Luckily he was there for us in that last bit, and unfortunately he sustained a pretty bad cut on his foot. I only shook his hand to thank him as we all caught our breath in the mud. Never got a name.”

Canady praised the men who were aboard the plane. “I have to commend the two gentlemen who swam back, for the strength, and situational awareness they had. Not only were they able to exit a plane underwater after a crash, but they were able to keep their wits while injured and swim back wearing jeans and leather boots. That swim would be difficult in a swimsuit.”

He also gave a shout out to the Comal County Sheriff’s Department, the first responders at the scene and the man who jumped in the lake to help everyone get back to shore safely.

“That community out there is as caring as it is unique and I’m sure had anyone else been there, they would have been in the water as well,” Canady said.

Comal County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jennifer Smith said the men aboard the plane were transported by emergency medical service to Christus Santa Rosa with non-life threatening injuries on Tuesday.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.