"I knew I had to survive for my children. The thought of them without a mother is unbearable," Tatyana Kutsenko said while recuperating at a friend's beachside home.
Kutsenko has three daughters and three sons and is a single parent. She prayed for a safe flight when she boarded the helicopter with her boss and another friend early Saturday.
"I asked God to take care of us, but never believed in a million years this could happen to me," she said.
Kutsenko was sitting in the middle of three seats when the chopper dropped into the water as the pilot hovered low. The aircraft was about twenty yards from shore where the water was about six-feet deep.
She remembers hitting the water and the chopper rolling onto its side, with the tide washing in.
"The water got basically all the way to my chin and I tried to hold my head so I can breathe. It was filling so fast. It's not even minutes, it's seconds," she said.
People on shore rushed out to help free the pilot and second passenger, but neither Tatyana nor the rescuers could release her seat belt. One of the men managed to retrieve a box cutter and free her.
She is grateful to the good Samaritans who came out in boats to assist. She is also extremely grateful to be alive.
"When we're talking about you're going to survive or you're going to die, you have so much appreciation. So much, for every moment in your life," Kutsenko said. "You're still gonna see the sun. You still can go hug the people you love. You're still gonna see your kids."
While she suffered cuts and bruises and was exposed to irritating aviation fuel, Kutsenko is going to be alright. The male pilot and the other female passenger also survived with no serious injuries.