NEW YORK – A woman fled with her housekeeper from the apartment hit by New York Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle's plane, followed by flames that scorched her back and legs, a relative said Thursday.
"She was in the same room that the nose of the plane hit," said Dr. Marc Benhuri, the brother-in-law of Ilana Benhuri, 50. "I'm telling you it's an absolute miracle that she's alive. I honestly believe that God was sitting on her shoulder."
Benhuri was doing paperwork at her desk when she heard the small plane outside her 40th-floor apartment, Marc Benhuri said. The housekeeper saw the plane coming toward her and rushed into the other room to get her, Benhuri said.
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The plane crashed into the apartment as they were trying to make their way out, Benhuri said. The women closed the door of the room where the plane hit, then closed the front door and ran down a fire escape to safety, he said. Closing the front door of the fiery apartment probably saved their lives, Benhuri said.
"She ran fast. That was a miracle. I don't know how she made it," said Dr. Parviz Benhuri, Ilana's husband. He said his wife, hospitalized in fair condition Thursday, "has very good spirits."
"She has a burn from her lower back all the way to the ankles," Marc Benhuri said. "She's in a lot of pain. She has a very big neck brace."
Benhuri, Parviz Benhuri's older brother, said Ilana Benhuri was conscious and able to talk.
"Thanks God she's alive," he said.
The Benhuris' housekeeper, Eveline Reategue, escaped serious injury.
Benhuri was listed in fair condition at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, spokesman John Rogers said. Twenty-two others, mostly firefighters, had been treated and released since Wednesday, he said.
Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, died in the crash.