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Single-engine plane makes emergency landing in Hauppauge

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The single-engine plane was caught on surveillance video moments before the crash in Hauppauge on March 5, 2016. (Credit: United-Guardian Inc.)

A Wantagh man and his teenage daughter got the fright of their lives Saturday when their small plane lost power, forcing them to make an emergency landing in a Hauppauge industrial park.

The single-engine Cirrus SR22 crash-landed on the front lawn of a factory on Marcus Boulevard. Father and daughter were shaken afterward, hugging one another in relief, but declined medical treatment, officials said.

“We got very lucky,” Louis Obergh, the pilot, said at the scene. “It’s a scary day.”

Rachel Obergh, 17, a student at Wantagh High School, said her father was giving her some in-flight instruction when the engine suddenly failed shortly after 3 p.m.

“He was showing me the controls for when I get my pilot’s license, and the engine just stopped,” said Rachel, whose father is a certified pilot. “It was one of those moments that’s just . . . really scary. The plane went down really fast.”

She said her dad was cool under pressure, activating the plane’s large emergency parachute.

“It’s a decision you have to make in a second,” Rachel said. “He told me ‘hold on.’ I was just sitting there in a panic.”

Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini said the parachute deployed at about 1,500 feet, and it was “very fortunate” the plane landed safely — avoiding structures and traffic.

The drama unfolded as the Oberghs were flying home after touring the University of Rhode Island, which Rachel is considering attending.

They were approaching Republic Airport in Farmingdale when the engine failed and had to crash-land about 12 miles away. Authorities said the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating; the National Transportation Safety Board will try to determine the cause.

But the harrowing experience isn’t likely to stop Rachel from pursuing a pilot’s license.

“Usually you only get into a plane crash once in your life,” she said. “So I think the odds are pretty good for me now.”

With Deon J. Hampton

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