FLASHBACK FRIDAY: rescue makes national headlines

On July 13, 1989, the 301st Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Homestead AFB, Fla., got a call for help with a man who was unconscious at the wheel … of his Cessna aircraft. The 301st immediately launched an HC-130, intercepted the aircraft 150 miles later, and flew 1,000 feet off the Cessna’s tail until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea near Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. The crew dropped a streamer and sea dye to mark the spot, followed by an MA-1 life raft. Pararescuemen deployed soon thereafter, pulled Mr. Root into the raft and began examining and treating him (for a gunshot wound to the abdomen, among other things) until a Coast Guard helicopter arrived to ferry them to the nearest hospital. The pilot turned out to be infamous Washington lawyer Thomas L. Root, who would later be convicted of 364 counts of securities fraud, conspiracy, counterfeiting and forgery. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

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