KUDAT - Moments before the aircraft crashed, Erwanshah Einin closed his eyes and thought he was going to die. The 19-seater Twin Otter aircraft clipped some trees, hit the roof of a house and spun before stopping in Kampung Sin San here.
After missing the runway by about 200m, Erwanshah said only chaos ensued.
"Passengers were screaming, there was so much smoke, the engine was still running and one of the propellers was still spinning.
"I knew I was alive and knew I had to get out of there fast," said the 23-year-old factory clerk who was on his way back to Sandakan from Kota Kinabalu. The flight was scheduled for a short transit here.
Erwanshah, who was seated in the third row from the front, said he managed to open the front door.
"I helped a woman who was screaming that she could not get her safety belt off from her and a child seated nearby.
"I got them out of their seats and they exited through the rear while I went to help the two pilots in front."
He found them in their seats and also discovered that the front of the aircraft had been ripped open.
Another passenger, Junaini Bladi, 52, said the pilots and a few passengers were helped by rescuers, who came within minutes of the crash.
"I can't remember much but knew something was not right when the aircraft could not land the first time and turned towards the sea before making another attempt.