COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Tony Radelat spoke publicly for the first time Thursday about the nearly two hours he spent on the phone with emergency responders after crashing his ultralight plane in a desolate field in Immokalee.
Radelat has been flying for more than twenty years, but he tells WINK News the March 16th flight that nearly cost him his life was his last.
Radelat took off from the Immokalee Airport where he kept his plane, flying over Fort Myers Beach before turning back to the airport. He says the airport was in sight when he began to experience turbulance and began losing altitude.
"I knew what was going on and I thought nobody was going to find me there and I needed to let them know where I was," Radelat said.
Radelat stayed on the phone with dispatchers as emergency responders used a helicopter to try to find him. Eventually, they were able to pinpoint his location using G.P.S. on his cell phone.
"I would not have not survived, if they would not have found me," he said.
Radelat has undergone five surgeries for his broken back, left leg, and broken ribs. He's scheduled to leave rehabilitation at Lee Memorial Hospital on Friday to continue physical therapy from home.
Meanwhile, the FAA is investigating what caused the plane to go down.