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Woodbridge Man Makes Desperate 911 Call in Hudson River Plane Crash

Christopher Smidt of Colonia and Deniece Depriester Kok of East Windsor both miraculously survived a freezing plane crash into the Hudson Sunday night.


The icy, pitch black waters of the Hudson River was probably the last place Christopher Smidt thought he was going to be when he started out on a sightseeing tour January 27.

On Sunday night, 43-year-old Smidt had taken a ride in a small plane piloted by Deniece Depriester Kok of East Windsor. Wpix.com reported that the plane, a single-engine Piper PA-32, took off from Trenton-Robbinsville Airport.

It wound up in the Hudson River near Yonkers around 5:20 pm Sunday when the plane crashed, according to a CBSlocal.com report.

Smidt, who lives in the Colonia section of Woodbridge, survived the crash with Depriester Kok. Both were still in the plane, which was barely floating in the frigid water, and both had life preservers on, the CBSlocal.com story said.

Smidt made a desperate 911 call to get help for the pair. The operator tried to ascertain where they were, and to get them out of the plane before it sank.

"The water is freezing," Smidt said in the recording of the 911 call to the dispatcher. "It's really cold. I can't make it to shore."

Both Smidt and Depriester Kok bailed out of the plane moments before it sank. The 911 dispatcher lost contact with Smidt, but the two were rescued by the Yonkers police after floating for 25 minutes in the water, wpix.com said.

They were treated for hypothermia at Jacobi Hospital, a wpix.com report said. Both were back home Monday after their frightening experience.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, cbslocal.com said.

Al McDorman January 29, 2013 at 04:43 PM
I'm happy for them. It could've turned out a lot differently if she didn't do a textbook water landing. It's good to hear accounts of those who make it through such calamities alive. There aren't any good emergency landing spots in that area, and she probably had only a 1000 foot glide down in which to make decisions. Good call!

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