The plane went down in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg on Friday evening.
"Harrisburg Tower. 85 Kilo. We lost the engine. We're not going to make it," the pilot is heard to say on an air traffic control transmission.
The Piper aircraft went down near the infamous Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.
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"Aircraft is in the river," an emergency dispatcher is heard to say.
"I'll let them know you're getting out of water. If you can make it to shore, try to as best you can," the dispatcher said.
Instead, a nearby boater pulled the two onboard to safety.
"I beat river rescue out there and I made sure they were fine. I got the lady on the boat, she was shaken up, sobbing," said Jonathan Witman.
Video and photos from the scene show the nose of the aircraft submerged in the shallow water and water covering the plane's wings.
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"It's rather shallow. I believe it's hung up on the rocks," said Tim Edwards, Executive Director of The Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority.
The pilot and the passenger escaped without serious injury.
The crash was reminiscent of the "Miracle on the Hudson" 10 years ago, when Captain Sully Sullenberger landed his Airbus A-320 into Hudson River after the airliners hit a flock of geese. Sullenberger's actions saved the lives of all 155 people on board the U.S. Airways flight.