Lifeguards quickly plucked the pilot from the water and brought him to the 13th Street beach to the cheers of sun worshippers on the sand.
He appeared OK, they said, before an ambulance took him to Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford Township.
The plane hit the water off Long Beach Island shortly before 3:30 p.m. and quickly submerged, the witnesses said.
"I saw the banner drop and heard it sputtering like it was out of gas," one of them wrote.
"It was a little yellow banner plane. It was travelling northbound along the coast," another added. "It started going down on an angle towards the water, it made sputtering noises, dropped its ad banner, and then landed/crashed in the water near the beach with a huge splash.
"Lifeguards went running/drove their vehicles towards it and 911 was called right away."
The US Coast Guard joined the large contingent of responders who rushed to the scene, followed by State Police and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. The National Transportation Safety Board also was en route.
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