Just after the small plane which he was aboard suffered engine failure, Mr. Puentes pulled out his cellphone and began taking photos of the aircraft’s descent. After the plane hit the water, Mr. Puentes, floating amid the wreckage with phone still in hand, took the photo of himself. In the background, the plane can be seen sinking to the ocean floor.
“As sirens and bells of the airplane were going, it was quiet. Everyone knew what was going on,” Mr. Puentes recently told a local station in his first interview since the Dec. 11 ordeal. “Seeing the water coming up real fast — the splash down when we hit the water — it just bit into me, like, ‘am I dreaming?’”
“Steel-toed boots, heavy work jeans, and long sleeve shirt. It was hard and exhausting to swim with all that,” Puentes said.
He eventually was pulled from the water by the U.S. Coast Guard and taken to a medical facility, but not before staying afloat for hours in boots, jeans and a long-sleeve shirt.
“It was hard and exhausting to swim with all that,” Mr. Puentes told the station. He only managed to stay above water because of an extra seat cushion given to him by the pilot.
“A lot of things seem petty now. Can’t take things for granted,” he said. One person died in the crash. An investigation is underway.
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