2 rescued after plane crashes in Hudson River - New York News

Hudson River plane crash survivor describes ordeal

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Chris Smidt and rescuers Yonkers Officer Dan Higgins and Danny, 12. (MyFoxNY/Stacey Delikat) Chris Smidt and rescuers Yonkers Officer Dan Higgins and Danny, 12. (MyFoxNY/Stacey Delikat)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

One of the survivors of the plane crash into the Hudson River over the weekend spoke with media about the ordeal on Tuesday.

"Five more minutes in the water, we wouldn't have made it," said Christopher Smidt, 43, of Colonia, N.J.

He spoke to reporters at a ceremony at City Hally in Yonkers, N.Y., after recovering from hypothermia at Jacobi Medical Center.

The pilot, Denise De Priester, 39, of East Windsor, N.J., and Schmidt survived 20 minutes in the frigid waters off Yonkers. De Priester was also treated for hypothermia.

The couple had on life jackets and were pulled from the water by off-duty Yonkers police officers in a Hudson River pilot boat. 

Assistant Yonkers Fire Chief Thomas Fitzpatrick heard their cries for help. 

"We could hear their cries for help, we had a visual on them and we were trying to head them off because they were going southbound at pretty fast clip,"  Fitzpatrick said.

"We are very happy that we were able to get the rescue boat the equipment and officers had the expertise to do this and recover these people in short period of time," said Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner. 

"We saw the man and he actually walked off the boat. The woman needed to be carried off the boat," added Fitzpatrick. 

The plane sank after the crash. 

The FAA says the plane departed from the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport earlier in the afternoon before crashing just before 5:30 near JFK Marina in Yonkers. 

The plane is a Piper PA 32, a single engine aircraft that can seat up to six people. It's now somewhere underneath the icy dark water. 

"The plane we believe is about 200 yards south of the marina and out into the waterway and we're going to be searching for the plane and try to recover it," said Gardner. 

This, of course, is not the first time people have survived a plane in the waters of the Hudson River. Four years ago this month, US Airways Flight 1549 flown by Captain Chelsly "Sully" Sullenberger landed on the Hudson River and all 155 people on board made it off safely. 

According to the FAA, the small plane was registered to a man out of Manalapan, N.J.  Fox 5 spoke to the man and he actually sold the plane on Thursday to a couple from central New Jersey. 

The former owner of the plane told Fox 5 he never had any issues with the plane and was shocked to see this happen.

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