Hackensack, NJ - VIN News Video Interview: Pilot Who Crash Landed Plane Was Ready To Die Said 'Shema Yisroel'
New Jersey - The Chasidic pilot who deliberately crash landed his plane in a New Jersey field spoke from his hospital bed, sharing the story of his fateful flight in a VIN News video interview.
As previously reported on VIN News, Yanky Rosenberg of Spring Valley was flying a Cessna 172 last Thursday when he experienced engine failure.
Rosenberg, a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, had taken off with his co-pilot Erik Pearson from Farmingdale Airport on a routine patrol for the Coast Guard. The two had flown up to the Albany area and were heading back to Farmingdale when their engine malfunctioned. Hoping to land at Teterboro Airport, the two headed west to New Jersey when their engine died completely.
When the Cessna did not respond to Rosenberg’s attempts to restart the engine, he began preparing for an emergency landing.
(Video interview with Shimon Gifter for VINnews.com)
“I shut the fuel, shut the electric power to the main…cut off the fuel selector, cut off the electrical power and I said ‘Shema Yisroel,’” Rosenberg told VIN News.
Both pilots tightened their seatbelts and concerned about a potential fuel fire on impact, Rosenberg told Pearson that if he lived through the landing, he should get out of the plane immediately.
“We had to land it,” said Rosenberg. “I saw a field that would have been a safe landing but it was full of kids so we decided to take another field, right next to it, adjacent to it, and we hit it hard.”
NorthJersey.com reported that Rosenberg and Pearson agreed immediately that they had no choice but to go for the second, smaller field.
“I said, ‘G-d, please help me and if I don’t make it, take me,’” said Rosenberg. “If I would have killed one of those kids, I would never have forgiven myself.”
Miraculously, Rosenberg was conscious after the crash landing but his attempts to rouse Pearson were unsuccessful. Rescuers were there within moments and Rosenberg screamed for them to extricate them from the aircraft.
Rosenberg and Pearson are both at Hackensack University Medical Center, where Pearson remains sedated. Rosenberg underwent surgery on his legs and says he is looking forward to his next flight.
16 year old Ben Stein and 17 year old Michael Silverman, members of the Tenafly High School cross country team, were on the field last Thursday, along with members of a ninth grade soccer team and the school’s marching band. The two teens saw the pilots zigzagging across the field as it descended.
“We thought it was just an independent pilot maybe taking a joy ride with his family,” said Stein.
Neither heard Rosenberg or Pearson shouting through the plane’s open windows, attempting to get the children out of the way. Their attempts unsuccessful, the plane made a turn over the Cresskill municipal pool and crash landed onto nearby Regan Field as the high schoolers watched in horror.
Stein and Silverman paid a visit to Rosenberg in the hospital yesterday, bringing a gift basket and a Tenafly High school cross country running team t-shirt.
“I gave them a lesson in life,” said Rosenberg. “If you see a plane coming down, nobody means harm to you, just get out of the way.”
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