Survivor of crash that killed Lidle out of hospital
NEW YORK -- Ilana Benhuri remembers her first thought as the small plane crashed through her apartment window: "I was dead."
She had been baking an apple pie for her 12-year-old daughter's school, and doing some paperwork at a desk in her four-bedroom apartment. She never saw the plane carrying New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle but felt it hit.
"The explosion threw me up in the air," Benhuri, 50, said Friday as she left Weill Cornell-New York Hospital Medical Center after a month of being treated for severe burns. "I was screaming. I could not stop screaming. I did not know what it was."
Lidle and flight instructor Tyler Stanger were killed when the plane slammed nose-first into Benhuri's 30th floor apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side on Oct. 11.
The two had been flying north up the East River and were trying to turn back, officials said.
Benhuri's housekeeper, Eveline Reategue, saw the small plane coming and rushed into the room to warn Benhuri, but there wasn't time. As the women tried to run, the plane crashed through the apartment wall, setting off a fireball.
Benhuri suffered burns below her waist, but she and Reategue made it down the building's stairs to safety. During her month in the hospital, Benhuri underwent surgery and multiple skin grafts.
"She's still in pain," said her attorney, Bob Sullivan, who added that a lawsuit was likely against Lidle's estate.
Authorities have not said which man was at the controls of the Cirrus SR20. Federal investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have said the inability of the plane's pilot to turn sharply in a light wind was responsible for the crash.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
Cory Lidle: 1972-2006
Born: March 22, 1972
Major league seasons: 9
Career statistics: 82-72 won-lost record, 4.57 ERA
Major league teams: New York Mets, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees
Children: Son, Christopher Taylor, born Sept. 18, 2000
Biographical information: 1990 graduate of California's South Hills High School, where he was a teammate of Yankee Jason Giambi and was an all-state selection his senior year. Has a twin brother, Kevin, who played minor-league baseball. Is a relative of Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat.
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• Schwarz: A truly sickening feeling
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• Lidle's twin passions: pitching, flying
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• Lidle crash photo gallery
• Quotes: Baseball reacts to Lidle's death
• Athletes who have died in plane crashes
• Expert: Lidle Crash Probably Due to Mechanical Failure or Other 'Distractions'
Audio from ESPN Radio
• Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly shares his thoughts on Lidle's death
• Peter Gammons on how Lidle overcame the "scab" label and how the pitcher's death could affect player contracts in the future
• Larry Bowa shocked by Lidle's death
• Phillies broadcaster Scott Graham talks about Lidle the pitcher
• Alan Schwarz was a friend of Lidle and had even been offered to ride with Cory in his plane
• Tim Kurkjian joins Erik Kuselias to discuss the tragedy
Video from ESPN.com
• Lidle plane crash timeline
• Rick Peterson reflects on Lidle's death
• MLB community mourns Lidle
• Ex-teammates react to Lidle's death
• Pedro Gomez Remembers Lidle
• Lidle lived his dreams
Video from ABCNews.com
• Lidle on why he loved flying (from Good Morning America)
• Video from the scene
• More video from the scene
Also on the Web
• PhillyBurbs.com: Flying with Cory Lidle (Feb. 2006)