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Woman Talks About Surviving Small Plane Crash In Everglades

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CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – A Ft Lauderdale woman who was injured when the small plane she was in with her husband crash in the Everglades on Sunday has been released from the hospital.

Sonia McKenzie, 50, was sent to Broward Health North on Sunday in good condition.

Her husband, 52-year old Kenneth Mckenzie, was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital because of extensive burns to his body. McKenzie is a senior vice president for Airbus and former CEO of Spirit Airlines.

Sonia McKenzie said they were on their way to Lynchburg, Virginia to visit their daughter but didn't get too far from Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport when the plane developed an oil pressure problem.

"The engine quit and we knew we wouldn't make the airport so we had to find a suitable spot to make an emergency landing. I spotted a dirt road with no power lines and I said 'that looks okay to me' and he said 'yep, it looks okay to me' so we came down. When we got to 500 feet he said Sonia pray," said McKenzie. "I don't even remember the words, God gave them to me and I just prayed that we would be okay and that as with every flight he would have angels surrounding our plane and around the wing."

After making a hard landing on an access road just west of the Sawgrass Expressway in Coral Springs, the plane exploded in flames.

McKenzie said she and her husband tried to remain as calm as possible.

"As soon as we touched down there were orange and red flames everywhere," said McKenzie. "He jumped out, he reached back to grab my hand and my headset caught me, I ripped that off and he went back again for me and pulled me out. We just stumbled across the rocks, just like in a movie you are watching saying 'get out of there, get out of there," it's in slow motion because we were stumbling on rocks. Then he said jump in the canal and we jumped into the canal, we didn't know if we were on fire or if the plane would explode."

McKenzie said her husband's experience as a pilot saved their lives. Kenneth McKenzie was a pilot in the Canadian armed forces for 14 years. She said it got them back to their two daughters in one piece.

"I just kept thinking of them and thought I have to get back to them and this is going to work, it's going to be okay," said McKenzie.

McKenzie said her husband suffered some second degree burns but will be alright. She and the girls spent Monday with him at the hospital. It was his birthday.

The National Transportation Safety board has launched an investigation into just what caused the plane to go down.

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