From there, the story played out more or less according to script: Complete loss of oil pressure, engine stoppage, chute pull, hard splashdown, evacuation to a life raft and Coast Guard rescue. "The plane got saltwater soaked, and we lived. What could have been a better outcome?" he says. But that's when the naysayers attacked, arguing that a real pilot could have performed a ditching and that somehow that would have been better. "It really crushed me, made me feel awful," McLaughlin says. So, he went back and looked at the crash history for water landings. "Ninety percent of pilots live through the hit, and 10 percent [of those pilots] drown. The rates under a chute are 100 percent. I could have flown the plane all the way into the crash, and you would have felt better. But would I be here?"