With temperatures as low as 19 degrees on Sunday, a 43-year-old man and 39-year-old woman whose plane crashed into the Hudson River near New York City are lucky to be alive.
The two New Jersey residents on a sightseeing trip were the sole occupants of a single-engine plane that went down into the icy waters near a marina around 5:30 p.m.
An off-duty police detective and his 12-year-old son were among the first responders who saved them, Yonkers Police Chief Frank Intervallo told The Journal News
“If we didn’t get there quick enough . . . thank God we got there quick enough,” Daniel Higgins Sr., the off-duty detective who piloted the boat with his son Daniel Jr., 12, told The Journal News. “It’s what we do for a living, and I’m just glad we were in the right place at the right time.”
Several Yonkers police officers, the state police, New York Police Department, New York Fire Department and Westchester County police responded to the accident, taking boats from the Hudson River Pilot House to assist the father and son.
The victims yelled for help and were in a state of near shock after being saved. The man, who was believed to be the pilot, was walking after the rescue but the woman was taken moved on a stretcher, according to The Journal News.
The two were treated for hypothermia and listed in stable condition at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, authorities said. Their identities were not made available.
Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said they “really looked good” given the situation.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told the Associated Press the plane was flying under visual flight rules and not receiving air traffic control services.
Higgins said he wouldn't have been able to help the two alone.
“My son did a great job,” Higgins Sr. told The Journal News. “I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
The crash occurred about four years after the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger of a U.S. Airways flight from La Guardia Airport.
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