Exclusive: Pilot who landed plane in Long Island Sound speaks out

NEW HYDE PARK, Long Island (WABC) -- The pilot of a plane who crash landed in Long Island Sound is speaking out exclusively to Eyewitness News.

Dr. Inderpal Chhabra is still thawing-out Monday night, barely 24 hours after he landed his single-engine plane in the 40-degree waters of Long Island Sound.

Dr. Chhabra was flying his Beechcraft Bonanza Sunday afternoon with his co-pilot when the engine began to shake.

"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.' And the teacher, 'As soon as you think you should turn back, you should turn back,'" Dr. Chhabra said. "It was a controlled landing on the water, it was not a crash."

He says he and his passenger swam a short distance to a large rock, after waiting on the wing until the plane sank.

They were rescued by volunteer firefighters from Rocky Point.

"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. 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," Dr. Chhabra said.
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