Michigan plane crash: Family speaks out after surviving plane crash

RAY TOWNSHIP, Michigan — A Michigan husband and wife speak out for the first time after surviving a fiery plane crash.

“The world kind of slowed down there, and those times felt like an eternity,” Ronny Kamal said. ABC News.

Kamal, the pilot; his wife, Olympian Chirine Njeim; their niece, Siena Kamal; and their dog, Charlie took off last month in a single-engine plane from a small airport in Michigan.

Soon after, 17-year-old Siena Kamal sensed something was wrong.

“The plane started moving a bit and like a ragged motion, just wobbling, and I knew it wasn’t turbulence. It wasn’t really the weather,” she said. .

Within minutes, the plane nosedived. Njeim said there was no time to be afraid.

“I felt like everything had gone quiet. I didn’t hear anything in the cabin, and I just hugged. And then when the plane, you know, went down and everything I remember after that, I remember thinking to myself, ‘oh my God, like when the plane is going to crash, that’s how my life is going to end,'” she said.

They were a hundred feet in the air when Kamal, an experienced pilot, was able to perform a controlled crash.

“It was just disbelief that it actually happened, but there was no time to be scared at that moment because the moment felt like a dream,” he said.

The plane dived into the trees. The aftermath consisted of flattened, twisted wreckage and mangled metal. The six-seater plane was decimated.

SEE MORE: ‘How are we alive right now?’: Michigan plane crash survivor opens up about harrowing experience

Jared Steffan, a family friend who was at the airport, saw the plane crash and called 911. His voice was shaking on the line. He was panting as he ran towards the stage and over the next few minutes.

“I can hear them,” you could hear them say. “Oh my God, they’re screaming. I don’t know what to do.”

The first to emerge from the ashes of the plane was Siena Kamal.

“Come here, honey, it’s okay,” Steffan said. “You are alive.”

All three emerged without serious injury.

Their beloved dog Charlie ran away after the crash but was found 13 hours later.

“(Charlie’s) has definitely experienced more in six months than I think most golden retrievers have at this point,” Ronny Kamal said. “I’m glad she’s just here barking and reinforcing that, you know, there’s too much fun in life to try to get bogged down.”

Kamal said he had 26 years of flying experience and to this day still couldn’t figure out what was wrong. But the family counts its blessings.

“I’m so grateful to be able to wake up every morning next to my wife,” he said. “I’m so thankful that my niece is resilient.”

“Every day is a gift. Life is beautiful, and we try to make the most of it and enjoy every moment,” Njeim said.

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