South Carolina Hog Hunters Rescue Stranded Pilot

   02.13.15

A party of pig hunters found themselves in the right place and right time after they rescued a stranded pilot on North Island in South Carolina’s Georgetown County. According to WWMB, the pilot found himself on the densely forested island after he was forced to make an emergency landing in the water on Thursday. Luckily for for him, a group of pig hunters traveling from the island saw the plane’s descent and was able to change course to assist.

”He was excited about seeing us, I’ll tell you,” one of the hunters, Billy Kunkle, told The State. “We said ‘Get in the boat.’ So he jumped in the boat right quick.”

The unidentified pilot was uninjured by the crash and was able to take a ferry back to the mainland. Coast Guard officials said they were first notified of the incident when air traffic controllers noticed the pilot’s small plane plummeting from 1,200 to 100 feet near the island before losing contact. It is not yet known what kind of problem forced the pilot to make an emergency landing.

The pilot landed amid the start of a series of three-day pig hunts that the state holds every year on the island. Normally North Island is uninhabited and only reachable by boat. However, around this time of year the over-3,000-acre island becomes a hive of activity as hunters turn out to cull feral pigs, which have been causing significant damage to the island ever since they established a population there.

“Feral hogs have continued to multiply on the island, causing destruction to the landscape and native plants, jeopardizing the nesting success of ground-nesting birds and sea turtle nests scattered along the beaches of this barrier island,” said Jamie Dozier, wildlife biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The hunts will take place until March 1.

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