THE pilot of the Lockheed L100-30 Hercules which crashed into the noxious water that circles Kai Tak's runway on Friday night had just seconds to brace himself for the impact: 'It was 'bang, bang' and I looked out . . . then we went down.' Captain Soeyono Sanardhi and four crew members survived. But seven others were not so fortunate: three were dead, three missing and presumed dead and another remains in critical condition. Talking to the Sunday Morning Post from his bed at Queen Elizabeth Hospital before his discharge last night, Captain Sanardhi's eyes welled with tears as he described his traumatic escape from the wreck with co-pilot Bambang Soekomartono Soekotjo dying in his arms. Captain Sanardhi, 40, said he had only seconds to brace himself after hearing a loud noise and seeing movement in the aircraft's number four engine before the plane nosed steeply to the right, plunging both cockpit and right wing straight into the sea. Captain Sanardhi, a pilot of 17 years' experience, 13 years in the cockpits of Hercules, suffered only slight injuries but Soekotjo, 34, was taken by surprise and suffered fatal head injuries. The distraught captain dragged the shattered body to a door, opened it and flung both of them into the dark and rainy harbour. 'I was trying to hold on to him but it was . . . ' Captain Sanardhi sobbed before breaking down completely, unable to answer any more questions. The pair were quickly dragged from the water by marine police who had arrived within minutes but Soekotjo was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. While Captain Sanardhi was trying to save the life of his friend, flight officer Haryanto was being plucked from the harbour by fellow crew members who had managed to escape the fast-sinking aircraft with a life raft. 'I was off-duty for this flight,' he said. 'When I got back on the plane I just fell asleep. 'The next thing I [knew] I was thrown in the air. I don't remember how I got out of the plane but then I was in the water and could see my friends [cabin attendant Aries Maral and assistant mechanical engineer Amas Susanto] in a raft and they pulled me in. 'Very soon the police came and put us in their boat and then we went to hospital.' Flight officer Haris Permana, 33, who was also off-duty for the flight said: 'Everything happened so quickly that I did not even know that the plane had crashed.' Mr Permana was resting in the main cabin at the time of the disaster. He recalled that there was no indication of anything wrong with the aircraft, but remembered that very shortly after take-off the plane veered to the right. He recalled water was already inside the cabin when the craft had settled. 'I don't even know how I got out of the aeroplane but all I remember is that there was a bright light above me and I think I got out from the top,' he said. 'It was God who saved me.' Within minutes of leaving the cabin, Mr Permana was rescued by Marine Police. Weeping and distraught, fellow survivor Amas Susanto, 52, said three of his friends died in the tragedy. 'There wasn't any sign of engine failure, such as bucking or jumping, nor any warning message given by the captain. 'The accident came in the blink of an eye. No sooner had I found the plane losing balance than I was soaked by water. I couldn't see anything. I just kept praying to God.'