Keeping calm helped assistant pilot stay alive in plane crash

MALACCA, July 24 – A sense of calm and courage to stay alive, in the face of adversity.

This probably, saved assistant pilot Faeroz Kamil from ending up in a watery grave when a light aircraft he was in, crashed in the Strait of Melaka, near the Selat Mosque, Pulau Melaka last night.

In the incident, the son of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri kept afloat in the sea for more than an hour, without clinging on to anything.

“At first, I was fearful and worried as I was not wearing a safety jacket...but I knew I needed to do something to stay alive.

“So, I calmed myself and tried to keep afloat, as best as I could because I was too tired to swim far. I also used a flashlight to attract the attention of the people around the mosque,” he told reporters at the Melaka Hospital here today.

Faeroz, 27, said about 9.30pm, he was rescued by fishermen.

Prior to the crash, he and female pilot Captain Sharron Yee, 27, and colleague Soh Hsien Shoong, 22, were undergoing flight training and departed from the Melaka International Airport in Batu Berendam at 7.30pm.

Forty-five minutes later, the Malaysian Flying Academy (MFA) Piper PA-28 aircraft which was piloted by Yee, suddenly plunged into the sea.

“At the time, I looked at the watch which showed 8.10pm, and I shouted for both Yee and Soh to bail out of the aircraft before it crashed into the sea,” said Faeroz, from Kuching, Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Soh said he bailed out of the aircraft as it hit the surface of the water, as instructed by Faeroz.

“I saw part of Captain Sharron’s face covered in blood and pulled her out of the plane. We then swam to the mosque before we were rescued by members of the public and sent to the Melaka Hospital,” said Soh, from Ipoh, Perak.

Meanwhile, Jalan Kubu Fire and Rescue Department chief Yazid Mohd Tahir said operations to recover the plane’s remains was ongoing, involving five officers and 17 personnel.

“They said they found a long object about 200 metres from the shore, and will conduct a detailed inspection to determine whether it is part of the aircraft,” he said. – Bernama

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