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People

October 7, 2012

Plane crash elevates pilot to fame

PLATTSBURGH — Since Theodore “Ted” Wright’s plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, the last place one might expect to see him is soaring through the sky on a jetliner.

But the Port Kent native’s epic story of skill and survival captivated the media’s attention, and he found himself flying once again.

He has been to New York, Los Angeles and a few cities in between recounting his Sept. 20 ordeal on numerous national talk shows.

On Wednesday, he stopped by “The Today Show,” and the next day he was joking with Al Roker on his Weather Channel show, “Wake Up with Al.”

Wright’s story was also featured on “Inside Edition” and “The Jeff Probst Show.”

“Anderson Cooper wanted us on his show today, too,” he laughed Friday in a phone interview from Tennessee. “It’s been hectic. I am just kind of worn out.”

‘MISCONCEPTIONS’

Wright, 27, and friend Raymond Fosdick, 36, boarded Wright’s twin-engine Beechcraft Baron for a flight from Baytown, Texas, to Sarasota, Fla., heading to a business meeting. But a serious cockpit fire left no choice but to kill the electric power and ditch the plane 30 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

The two free-floated for three hours, enduring painful stings from a Portuguese man-of-war before the Coast Guard was able to locate and rescue them.

“I can tell you we were in the water 2 minutes and 59 seconds too long,” Wright said.

Despite the accident, he hopes to change the perception some have of small planes and general aviation as dangerous and even deadly.

“There’s a lot of misconception about general aviation. The idea that small airplanes aren’t safe is really not true,” he said.

Wright blames the same media that can’t get enough of his story for sometimes helping to fuel this false impression.

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