Pilot recovering after emergency crash landing in Lake Morton

KING COUNTY, Wash. — A 19-year-old pilot is recovering after crashing his plane in Lake Morton near Covington on Monday.

Brett Easter was rescued from the plane by neighbors who paddled kayaks out to retrieve him after seeing the crash.

Easter told KIRO-7 he took off from Crest Airpark on Monday for a short flight before work. Seconds after he took off, the engine quit and the propeller stopped turning. He was over Lake Morton and knew that was his best option.  Easter, who started taking flight lessons when he was 11, knew he needed to drop speed and altitude so he circled the lake. When he was low enough he undid his harness and opened the door so he'd be able to get out.

He made it out of the plane but then had trouble swimming because he was wearing a heavy coat. As he tried to take off his coat, now soaked with water, his arms got stuck behind him. Easter said he had to kick his legs to stay above water. He told KIRO-7 he thought he was going to drown.

"I was getting ready to take my final breath," Easter said. "I was realizing they might get me later and CPR, whatever they can do. I did what I could, I was ready to give up at that point. I was pretty exhausted."

As he was about to go under, neighbors arrived in kayaks and pulled him to shore.

"I wouldn't be here talking to you if it wasn't for them," Easter said.  He hopes to meet his rescuers so he can thank them in person.