UPDATE 12/27 3:00 p.m. — Maryland State Police identified the pilot as 71-year-old Steve Couchman of Prince Frederick, Maryland.


RIVA, Md. (DC News Now) — A small, single-engine plane crashed into a frozen creek along the South River in Anne Arundel County, Maryland on Monday morning, investigators confirmed. First responders and nearby residents kayaked to the pilot’s rescue.

The crash happened just seconds after the aircraft took off from Lee Airport, at around 10:27 a.m.

The pilot, a 71-year-old man, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

Several emergency responder units assisted in the rescue.

Maryland State Police took charge of the investigation. Preliminarily, they said the engine of the plane began “sputtering” after departure.

“Witnesses told police they heard the sputter and shortly thereafter, they heard the plane crash into Beards Creek,” officials said in a statement.

The runway at Lee Airport sits directly behind Beards Creek, a body of water that is surrounded by houses. Two neighbors, along with an on-duty Anne Arundel County police officer, used kayaks to skim across the iced-over creek and assist the pilot, who was the only person on board at the time.

As the plane was sinking, the pilot exited the aircraft and climbed onto one of its wings, waiting to be rescued, investigators said. He eventually held onto one of the kayaks as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police approached the scene via boat. Officers cut through the ice, and transported the pilot to a nearby marina where he was ultimately taken to the hospital.

The NTSB has confirmed to DC News Now that they are aware of the crash, but have no information to report at this time. Efforts to connect with the FAA were unsuccessful.

This is now the second recent small plane crash in the DMV where a pilot has walked away with non-life-threatening injuries. In November, a pilot and passenger on board a Mooney M20J aircraft miraculously survived after crashing into an electrical tower.