ST PETERSBURG, Fla. (970 WFLA) – St. Pete Police say a pilot is dead after the small plane he was in crashed in water about 75 yards south of the seawall of Albert Whitted Airport around 3:00 p.m. Sunday.

According to witnesses, the pilot had just picked up a banner and was beginning to climb when popping noise could be heard coming from the plane. Police say the plane then appeared to nose down and crash into the water.

Due to the depth and murky condition, authorities say divers from St. Petersburg Fire Rescue had to be brought to the scene to help get the pilot out out of the plane, which is submerged in about 25 feet of water and will likely be pulled out sometime Monday.

Police also say the plane is a Piper PA23 that belongs to Aerial Banners Incorporated. Police say company representatives are in route to the scene from Ft. Lauderdale.

The medical examiner's office will make a final determination as to the cause of death.

FAA investigators will be conducting the investigation.

Photo Credit 970 WFLA/K. Norman