Pilot Anthony Marsh shows off his injured hand that got 15 stitches at a local hospital Friday morning.
Clearwater, Florida -- The pilot of a small plane that crashed into Tampa Bay earlier this morning calls it a miracle that he is alive.
Forty-seven-year-old Anthony Marsh said he was flying his single engine Piper PA 28 aircraft from Pennsylvania to Clearwater and had almost made it here when the plane's engine cut out about 1,000 feet in the air.
Marsh said he thought he was going to die. The cockpit, he said, filled with water. The windshield, which had hit his face, was twisted toward his chest.
With lungs filled with water, he said he kicked out the glass and managed to find his way to the surface in the dark. He then stood on the wing of his aircraft until a passerby on the Bayside Bridge nearby shouted to him, making sure he was okay, and then called emergency officials for help.
PHOTOS: Small plane crashes alongside the Bayside Bridge
10 News talked to one man who said he heard the plane go down.
"I turned around and jumped up and looked over the fence, about the time it hit the water," said Christopher Wheeler. "Nothing was there but a whole bunch of water was gushing at me. I ducked under the fence and then I let the water settle and everything, and then I got back up and looked and could see the top of the plane."
Marsh was taken to a local hospital where he said he received 15 stitches in his hand. He also has a black eye and a cut on his head. But considering what he had been through, the father of three and grandfather of two said he simply feels lucky to be alive.
According to FlightAware.com, the plane took off from Lumberton Municipal Airport in North Carolina around 5:30 Thursday night. It was supposed to land at St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport around 11:30. The plane crashed into the water around 2:15 Friday morning.
The FAA continues to investigate what caused the plane to go down.