Aqua salvage company, Deep Blue Marine, reeled in the catch of the day on 3 April, successfully bringing a submerged Cirrus SR22 to the surface and ultimately all the way out of Lake Powell in Arizona.

The recovery ends the saga that began on 24 February when the pilot and two passengers, including Olympic gold medal wrestler passenger, Rulon Gardner, lost depth perception while flying low over the smooth surface of the lake and mistakenly touched down on the water. 

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The pilot said the four-seat single engine Cirrus “decelerated rapidly, and it did not nose over or sink immediately,” according to the US National Transportation Safety Board’s final report on the crash, issued yesterday. All three escaped before the aircraft descended 115ft to the lake bottom, but spent more than an hour swimming to the shore in 44-degree water, the NTSB stated.

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According to Deep Blue officials, the owner’s insurance company paid to have the aircraft retrieved at the request of the National Park Service, where officials were concerned about the effects of oil and gas on the fresh water lake.