(NEW YORK) — The newly released 911 call from the small plane that crashed in New York’s Hudson River Sunday night shows the terror inside the cockpit as the passenger and pilot struggled to save their lives.
“We’re in the water now but it’s filling up so we’re going to have to bail,” passenger Christopher Smidt told the 911 dispatcher. “We’re going to the rear of the plane. The plane is filling up.”
“We’re in the middle of the Hudson River,” he said. “We’re in the plane. The plane is taking on water.”
Smidt, 43, of Colonia, N.J., then yelled to the pilot, Denise De Priester Kok, 39, of East Windsor, N.J., to jump into the chilly river waters.
“The plane is going down. Let’s go. Get out. Get out. Going head first,” he said. “Ahhh….The water is freezing.”
Smidt and De Priester Kok’s Piper PA-32 plane went down around 5:30 p.m. Sunday after taking off from the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport in Robbinsville, N.J., on a sightseeing tour.
Wearing life vests, Smidt and De Priester Kok were able to survive nearly 30 minutes in the freezing water before being rescued. They were treated for hypothermia at a nearby medical center and released, according to officials.
Among the pair’s rescuers were an off-duty police officer who, along with his 12-year-old son, piloted a boat out to Smidt and De Priester Kok’s location.
“[We] saw the victims in the water and they appeared to be in a state of hypothermia, going into shock,” said Daniel Higgins Sr.
“My dad has always told me to be brave and never be scared of helping someone,” added his son, Danny.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.
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