The single-engine plane went down about 3:30 p.m. after the pilot declared an emergency and told air traffic controllers at Patuxent River Naval Air Station that he was having trouble with the plane and didn’t think he could make it to Tangier Island Airport in Virginia, the Coast Guard said.
A search began by the Coast Guard, Maryland State Police and state Natural Resources Police.
About 8 p.m., residents reported the pilot was on Smith Island and said he had swam to shore. He was flown by state police helicopter to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salsibury, Md.
The pilot said his mother died while they were in the water.
The search for the mother is continuing.