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Paramedic rescues dad from plane crash

By Associated Press
Published October 26, 2003

DAYTONA BEACH - A veteran Volusia County paramedic was put in the unusual position of helping rescue his father after his father's ultralight plane crashed in the Halifax River.

Dr. Michael Karges was found unconscious with his face underwater and his leg jammed in the plane's floorboards Friday. He remained in critical condition Saturday in the intensive care unit at Halifax Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Kate Holcomb.

Karges' wife, who lives on the river, called her son Kevin after the crash and reached him by chance at the hospital. He called 911, hopped in his ambulance and was one of the first rescuers to arrive.

He jumped in the water, helped free his father, rode with him to the hospital and has been staying by his side, EVAC ambulance spokesman Mark O'Keefe said.

Boaters moved in to help when the plane went down. Dave Welch of Jacksonville jumped into the river from his rented pontoon boat and held Karges' head out of the water while Daytona Beach fire-rescue divers worked to free him.

Welch thought Karges, a 56-year-old oral surgeon, was under water for almost two minutes.

"I thought he was dead when I reached him," a shaken Welch said. "He wasn't breathing."

Tracey McDowell, who was fishing from a nearby pier, said he heard the engine sputter and saw the nose drop before the plane crashed and rolled in the water.

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