A Sikh doctor has miraculously survived a plane crash after he managed to land the aircraft he was piloting on the frigid waters of an estuary near here and then along with his co-pilot swam to a large rock. Inderpal Chhabra, a 48-year-old prominent physician who resides in Woodbury, and co-pilot David Tobachnik, 59, of Coram, were flying a Beechcraft Bonanza when the engine began to shake. The plane took off from MacArthur Airport, Long Island, heading to Calverton, New York, but went down in the waters of the Long Island Sound on Sunday.
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The two men crashed on the Long Island Sound and clung on to a rock in frigid waters before they were rescued off Shoreham, authorities said.
“As soon as I reached cruising altitude it got a little bit of a shudder, so I looked at my co-pilot and was like, ‘Should we turn back?’ And he said, ‘Yeah you should’,” Chhabra told WABC-TV.
“It was a controlled landing on the water, it was not a crash,” Chhabra said.
He said he and his co-pilot swam a short distance to a large rock, after waiting on the wing until the plane sank.
They were rescued by volunteer firefighters.
“I was like, why is this taking them so long? We could see the police helicopters directly over us, so we knew that help was near, but it seemed like an eternity,” Chhabra said.
“But then I was so glad, a shout out to the Rock Point Fire Department and the Suffolk County Police. This is what we train for. Fly the plane all the way into the crash, and I’m so glad that’s what I did. Up until the last minute that I hit the water, I was actually still flying the plane,” Chhabra said.