Frantically, Joe tried to unbuckle his harness but the jolts and bumps had jammed the catch, desperately he fought to find his knife which he kept in his rucksack but he had to strain to twist in the seat and reach behind into the luggage section for the bag, “Clem can you reach over for me?” he asked his friend but got no reply, “Clem for God’s sake don’t die on me, you shouldn’t be here,” he screamed as the water started to seep in through the floor.
Joe glanced at the pilot seat and noticed Clem had been injured in the crash landing and was unconscious and slumped across the control stick which was pushing the plane’s nose further down in the already thinned ice, “Right, I need to stay clam or we won’t get out,” Joe muttered as he tried to search for the knife, “I need to cut myself out and get the crews to help Clem, without him we are lost, damn these belts! When you need them loose they’re too tight,” he wriggled and wriggled until he found enough room to reach the bag as he put his hand in for the knife he muttered, “come to me, my beauty I have never needed your help more than now.”
Outside, the rescue crew had arrived and had stretched the ladders across the thin ice to spread the weight on the thin covering, “Give me some slack,” called Fire Chief Ted Jones, “I can see the pilot is injured and water is starting to collect in the cockpit, so we don’t have much time. I’ll smash the window to get to the pilot and then we need to rush to get him out!”
Ted inched his way along the ladder, even though time was against him; he knew if he went to fast the ice would crack and the plane would sink quicker, inch by agonising inch he crawled; one moment glancing at the plane and the next at the ice below him.