ESTERILLOS, Costa Rica — The only survivor of the crash of a skydiving plane said the craft “was moving like a roller coaster” when the pilot yelled for everyone to jump, news reports said Friday.
Searchers found the bodies of two more people killed in the crash of a plane carrying U.S. and Canadian skydivers, raising the number of dead to four with one person still missing. The Cessna 206 crashed Tuesday during turbulent weather.
The only known survivor, William Slattery, a 34-year-old American, was released from a hospital Thursday and thanked “the people that saved my life and pulled me from the water” in a statement released through the U.S. Embassy in San Jose, the capital.
“Five minutes later and I wouldn’t be here,” he said. Officials did not give his hometown.
Slattery apparently managed to jump from about 2,600 feet, the local newspaper La Nacion said, citing Civil Aviation officials. Slattery spent about a day in the water before being rescued Wednesday.
He said the pilot had yelled at those behind him to jump, according to a paramedic for Civil Aviation, Ricardo Hernandez, who spoke to the newspaper Al Dia.
“I asked him what he remembered and he told me that the plane was moving like a roller coaster,” Hernandez told Al Dia. “He said he heard a shout of ’Jump!’ and the three jumped.”
National Red Cross Director Guillermo Arroyo and Security Ministry official Walter Navarro were part of a team of investigators and psychologists who arrived Friday to speak with Slattery at a small hotel where he was staying.
The Red Cross and Security Ministry officials said one body discovered Friday washed ashore on Playa Hermosa, some 40 miles southwest of the capital. San Jose. The second was found in the water.
The two other bodies were discovered at sea Thursday, each tangled in the lines of a parachute. The plane’s owner, Milt Burton, a Canadian-born skydiver who had worked as a Hollywood stuntman, was missing.
Burton’s company Skydive Costa Rica said he had grown up in Edmonton, Canada. He had worked in Santa Barbara, Calif., and was credited with stunt work for the 1998 film “Firestorm.” He had made more than 8,000 parachute jumps.
© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.