Like anyone who agrees to sit in the exit row of a plane, Sam Stern was well apprised of his duty to assist the crew in the event of an evacuation.
But as he boarded Delta Flight 1086 in Atlanta Thursday morning, en route to La Guardia, he never thought there would actually be an evacuation.
Sam Stern sat in the exit row of Delta Flight 1086.Photo: Facebook
“I was in the exit row,” Stern, 64, of Sarasota, Fla., told The Post.
“I had to pull the window in,” he shrugged of his hero’s role in his fellow passengers’ escape from the plane, the nose of which sat precariously just feet from frigid Flushing Bay.
“They always ask you, ‘Are you prepared, willing and able to assist in the event of an evacuation?’ ” he said.
“But you never expect it’ll happen to you.”
The plane started skidding almost immediately upon landing, Stern said.
“In my mind, I was thinking, ‘Holy cow, are we going to flip over? Spin out?’
“They managed to keep the nose forward,” he said of the crew. “Finally, we hit this fence. The left side of the plane was looking over the water.
“The guy sitting right opposite me, he thought we were going in the water. He said he was thinking about the plane crash in the Hudson,” Stern said, referring to US Airways Flight 1549, which famously landed in the river in 2009 after bird strikes caused both jet engines to sputter to a halt.
But even after the Delta plane skidded to a stop, the danger was not past.
“One of the panels on the ceiling came into the plane,” said Stern, traveling with his wife, Roxanne.
The flight attendants spoke on megaphones, because the loudspeaker was out, and calmly ordered an evacuation, and that’s when Stern had his star turn.
“I had to pull the emergency window in, and I was the first person out of the plane,” he recalled. “Then I slid down the wing, and one by one, single file, everybody slid out of the plane.
“Some people are crying, shaken up,” he said shortly after the landing. “My back is sore. But it’s not a big deal.”
March 6, 2015 | 12:40am