A Washington area couple and their toddler were among those saved from the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend after an air taxi made a crash landing in the waters off Florida, authorities said.
David MacDougall, a Canadian diplomat, his wife, Leslie, and their son were rescued by boaters Saturday from waters near Fort Lauderdale. The pilot and other passengers also were saved.
"We're damn lucky to be alive," MacDougall told another official at the embassy, where he is assistant naval attache, an embassy spokesman said last night.
The MacDougalls, Alexandria residents who have lived in the Washington area for about a year, were returning from the Bahamas after a vacation, authorities said. They reportedly were still in Florida last night and could not be reached immediately.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, authorities said.
Embassy spokesman Terry Colli said he understood that when the plane hit the water, life jackets could not be found for all on board.
David MacDougall, who is an officer in the Canadian navy, went without one, the spokesman said. Marguerite Falango of San Francisco, the mother of passenger Alicia Falango, said she was told that Leslie MacDougall went onto the wing of the aircraft with her baby in her arms. She handed the boy, who was described as less than a year old, to someone in the water and then jumped in, Falango said. The plane soon sank.
All of the plane's occupants, numbering six or seven, were quickly rescued by a fishing boat.