|Published:||Jul 25, 2013 4:01 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 25, 2013 4:46 PM EDT|
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - The call came into the Collier Communications Center and for nearly two hours, Senior Dispatcher Richard Swink kept the pilot, Anthony Radelat, on the phone and talking until he could be rescued.
"Hi, I crashed...about 5 miles west of the Immokalee airport..airplane."
For Senior Dispatcher, Richard Swink, it's a phone call he'll never forget.
"I was definitely listening to him die over the phone," said Swink.
The man he was talking to was 67 year old Anthony Radelat. On Thursday, Radelat met the first responders who saved his life.
"I think it's important for me to recognize the people that kept me alive and the reason why I'm here," said Radelat.
Thirty years of flying couldn't prevent his ultralight plane from crashing on March 16, just miles from the Immokalee Airport.
"In my opinion I could have flown right out of there, but the cause of the accident was I lost power," Radelat said.
But he did have his cell phone. And while trapped underneath the plane, Radelat was able to call 911. Rescuers used that signal to track his location.
"What we did was have him tell us when the helicopter was getting louder or when it was getting quieter," said Sgt. David Estes with the Collier County Sheriff's Office Agriculture Bureau.
It took crews close to two hours to find him. Multiple broken bones and several surgeries later, he calls these first responders the unsung heroes.
"It's a life-changing event, and I will never forget."
And following his wife's request, the father of two said he has given up flying.
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