Woman injured in Lidle crash speaks

Friday, November 10, 2006

Eyewitness News has the frightening story of one woman -- the only person seriously injured in Yankees Pitcher Cory Lidle's plane crash.

She was in her apartment when Lidle's plane, a fire ball, suddenly came crashing through. She survived.

She spoke to Eyewitness News by phone.

She was standing in the den of her apartment when she saw the small plane flying into her window. Ilana Benhuri had no time to react she was hurled backwards by the explosion and landed in her foyer.

"Thank God I can walk by myself to be able to walk out....I am grateful to God, just grateful I survived. Tomorrow, God willing, I will be coming out," Benhuri said.

After four weeks in the burn center at New York Hospital, after several skin grafts from numerous burns on her body, the 50-year-old victim is being released but can't go home. Her home on East 72nd Street is still destroyed and remains an investigation scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that wind may have caused the single engine plane to slam into the high rise, killing Lidle and his flight instructor instantly. The FAA has since banned small fixed wing aircraft from flying in the windy East River corridor unless the pilot's in touch with air traffic control.

"I think that's not right, they said no airplanes should be on top of Manhattan and it came to my room where I was standing," Benhuri said.

Mrs. Benhuri told Eyewitness News she was shocked to see the plane so close, believing changes had been made after 9/11.

But despite the pain she struggles with, the victim is most hurt about something else.

"That really hurt me that my Governor Pataki and my Mayor Bloomberg didn't visit me, didn't send me a card ... I just waited to see if they knew I was here my mayor said no one was injured and I was here for one month," she added.

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