Pilot rescued after banner plane crashes off New Jersey coast

SURF CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A pilot has been rescued after a banner plane crashed off the coast of Ocean County, New Jersey on Saturday.

Officials say it happened near the 13th Street beach in Surf City just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

"We saw the plane start to come in, not realizing what it was, thought it was a water plane or something like that. It got closer and closer to the water until all of a sudden it smacked the water and flipped over," said witness Emily Alexander.

Bill Topkis also saw the plane flying low before the crash.

"We thought the plane was eventually going to go back up, it looked like it was doing a trick or something. And it kept going lower and lower and finally, it just hit the water and everyone just sort of gasped on the beach," Topkis said.

Authorities tell Action News that the pilot was rescued by lifeguards and taken to the hospital. The pilot's injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

The FAA said it would investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board would work to determine the probable cause of the accident.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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