VIRGINIA BEACH -- The fisherman who pulled the pilot of the downed F/A-18E to safety Wednesday afternoon said he wished he could have gotten there sooner.

In a faxed message to 13News Now, Capt. Bryan Daniels said he and his crew sprung into action when they heard the emergency call over the radio.

He said the 'Joyce D,' his fishing vessel, was just 2-miles from the scene of the crash when the call came in.

'We were steamin up the coast when I heard the jets flying overhead my boat, they kept circling me an twistin their wings,' Daniels said.

The captain went on to describe the chaotic scene once they arrived and located the ejected pilot in the water.

'We tried to throw a lifering an rope to him but he couldn't reach for it...The whole time he was cryin out he couldnt breathe an help me,' he said.

The crew was eventually able to secure the pilot using a life preserver and waited for rescue teams to arrive.

'This has been heavy on my mind to see that young man like that...I hope he makes out all-rite,' Daniels wrote.
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