Rachel Obergh arrived at the Wantagh High School senior prom Wednesday night dressed in a full-length evening gown adorned with a crystal neckline, excited to be celebrating with her friends at the Woodbury Country Club.
“I am happy to be here. It’s great to see everyone,” she said.
And when Obergh says that, she really means it.
On March 5, a routine flight from Rhode Island to Republic Airport in Farmingdale turned out to be anything but for Rachel and her dad, Louis Obergh.
While en route to Farmingdale, the single-engine Cirrus SR22 her father was piloting lost power.
“The engine stopped, and it’s like, ‘What do I do?’” said Rachel, 18, who had been touring the University of Rhode Island with her dad. “I knew we were going to crash. I thought, ‘This is it. It is over for us.’ One minute we were flying, looking at the beautiful scenery, and the next something goes wrong.”
Her father quickly called air traffic control and pulled the plane parachute.
“The parachute shot out of the back of the plane and slowed down the impact,” she said of the crash-landing on the lawn of a Hauppauge business. “I hurt my shoulder and my dad had a scratch on his head.”
She seems determined not to let this incident slow her down. Obergh will attend SUNY New Paltz and major in business management with hopes of becoming a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade producer, and plans to get her pilot’s license. She was even quick to return to class after the plane crash.
“I only took one day off,” she said. “My principal said take more time but I wanted to go back.”