2 pilots rescued by cruise ship off Turks and Caicos share ordeal

(WSVN) - Two North Carolina men are sharing their story nearly a week after their plane crashed into the Caribbean and the crew of a cruise ship came to their rescue.

7News aired a story about Tuesday afternoon’s rescue, about 23 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos Islands, after the victims were spotted by a U.S. Coast Guard crew and picked up by the crew of the Regal Princess.

“I can honestly say this is the best outcome that we could have ever hoped for,” said the ship’s captain, Tim Stringer.

Ed Regensburg and Dan Tucker said they were diving in St. Croix and were heading back to their homes in North Carolina when they encountered plane problems.

“The airplane had an oil pressure loss, and it wasn’t five seconds later that it went straight into the red,” said Regensburg. “The engine seized up, and the propeller stopped.”

The plane was equipped with a parachute for emergencies. The men, both of whom are pilots, said they put out a mayday call, took turns putting on their life vests, prepared their raft and pulled the cord.

“When you hit the water, water is not soft,” said Regensburg.

Within 40 minutes, aircraft from the Coast Guard’s Miami Beach Station spotted the pair.

“The Coast Guard officials told us, ‘You need to go and help them,'” said a Royal Caribbean official. “The captain was amazing, the way he summoned everybody up,”

The rescue brought applause and praise from passengers and the two pilots who crashed and then cruised on one eventful Tuesday.

“We were in a major incident, and not a scratch on us, and we’re very thankful,” said Tucker. “We thank you, we thank the crew, we thank the Coast Guard, everybody involved,”

The men got off the cruise ship in St. Thomas. The Regal Princess returned to Port Everglades on Sunday.

Regensburg and Tucker said they planned to kiss their loved ones and buy some lottery tickets once they return to North Carolina.

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