OLD BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There is new information on a small plane crash on Long Island.
There is now video showing the exact moment the aircraft came down on Sunday.
The pilot underwent surgery and first responders described the harrowing moments after the crash, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.
“We just saw a plane flying very low. We heard ‘boom, boom, boom.’ That’s it,” Old Bethpage barber Arthur Khaimov said.
Khaimov ran outside his barber shop and looked up. Seconds later, there was an explosion.
The pilot had radioed a distress report of engine problems as he tried to return to Republic Airport, a mile and a half away.
The 57-year-old Bellmore man at the controls somehow survived.
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The pilot was extricated by a retired Nassau County Emergency Services officer who happened to be in the area. He was able to get in to remove the pilot amid the spilling fuel and shattered glass.
Within minutes first responder support teams arrived and kept the pilot calm, explaining to him that he would be air-lifted to the hospital.
“He said, ‘You know what? I’ve just been in a plane crash. I don’t want to go in a helicopter now.’ So they transported him by ground,” Plainview first responder Larry Baron said.
“We were right in our bedroom. Sirens going on. Police, ambulance, so many fire trucks in one minute,” resident Pooja Murgai said.
“Clearly, God’s blessings played a role here because it did not come down in a populated area, did not come down on a house, or on a street with moving cars,” Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino said.
The Cessna C421 could have been carrying up to eight, but the pilot was flying alone when he hit fencing and narrowly avoided a concrete abutment at a former recycling plant, just blocks from a residential area.
“All of a sudden I saw out the window this small plane coming almost right towards the house. It was gliding sideways, so I knew something was wrong and then I heard some popping sounds, too,” witness Robbie Gerson said.
The pilot remains in serious condition following surgeries on broken bones in his back, leg, and ribs. He said he hopes to soon be well enough to thank the first responders in person and learn what went wrong during his fateful flight.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan contributed to this report