SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Scottsdale pilot who survived a crash landing on Lake Pleasant last weekend is talking about this harrowing experience.
Mahmood Tehrani had taken his adult nephew for a ride in his rare single-engine plane when the aircraft started acting up.
“I feel the engine start to quit, so very low power,” said Tehrani. “Then it quit.”
Tehrani, who has been a pilot for 21 years, had to take drastic action. He dove down straight toward the water hoping the airflow would get the propeller going again.
[ORIGINAL STORY: Father, son injured in Lake Pleasant plane crash]
“When you dive, the wind will turn the prop to help the engine come back on,” said Tehrani. “Fortunately, it came on, but there was not enough power. Something was definitely wrong.”
Tehrani says the plane did not have enough power to climb altitude. Then the engine quit again.
Tehrani knew the plane would go down but he had enough time to decide where. He spotted a boat below and steered toward it with hopes someone on board could rescue he and his nephew if they survived the impact.
The two braced for a crash landing.
“In about five seconds [the plane] was under water,” said Tehrani. “Very fast. So I open the canopy and turn off the power and I ask my nephew to get out.”
Tehrani says he went up for air but realized he his shirt had caught on something on the plane. He struggled to tear himself free and get his head above water.
Tehrani and his nephew surfaced. Two men on the nearby boat pulled them from the lake.
“The gentleman who helped us, he gave his t-shirt to me and said, 'Hold onto your lips because it’s really bad,'” said Tehrani. “I was thinking it’s just a little cut. Later on, I see it and it was a big, big cut.”
Tehrani had to get 20 stitches on his chin and a few stitches on his upper lip. He suffered three broken ribs and a few scrapes and bruises. His nephew also walked away from the crash with minor injuries.
“Maybe that’s the gift of the Thanksgiving for me,” said Tehrani jokingly.
To the good Samaritans that saved him, he said, “Thank you.”
The frightening ordeal, however, will not keep Tehrani from flying the skies. He has another plane and intends to continue doing what he loves.
“Flying is my passion,” said Tehrani. “If I don’t fly, I’m dead. So I have another plane to be happy again.”