Jockeys Recovering From Plane Crash Injuries

Dettori, 29, Britain's best-known jockey, was expected to have surgery Friday for a broken right ankle while Cochrane, 42, was being treated for minor burns to his face and head and severe bruising. The Piper Seneca carrying the jockeys to race meets in Goodwood crashed a Newmarket Racecourse shortly after takeoff early Thursday afternoon.

Dettori's business agent, Peter Burrell spoke with the two jockeys at Addenbrooke's Hospital, according to the Associated Press. "Frankie said he shouted at Ray as the plane went down: `We're dead, mate. This is it. We're gone'," Burrell recounted for the AP. Cochrane helped Dettori out of the plane and then tried unsuccessfully to rescue the pilot. "Ray is just very, very sore and has heat burns to his face," Burrell said. "He has asked me to tell you that he is very happy to be here and not in a box. They are both fairly emotional as far as the pilot is concerned, which is understandable considering what they have been through. They are lucky to be there. Five seconds more and they would probably have burned to death."

Burrell said Dettori's ankle would take about six weeks to heal and the jockey would be out for another month. Both jockeys praised the pilot, who kept the plane airborne long enough to avoid a huge ditch. "Patrick, the pilot, did a fantastic job and we are sure that if the plane had hit the dike we would have been killed for sure," they said in a joint statement. "We would like to express our sympathy to his family and say that we owe our lives to his skill and courage."

"It would certainly seem to be a miracle that anyone got out of the crash alive," said Steve Brown, an inspector with the local Suffolk police told the AP.

Dettori, Godolphin Racing's number one rider famous for his flamboyant style and flying dismounts, made English racing history in 1996 when he won all seven races on the same day at Ascot. He is better known in American racing circles for his impressive victory with Daylami in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf and for his ride aboard Swain in the 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic. Cochrane is veteran and well-respected jockey who has won the English Derby, England's No. 1 flat race. Dettori was preparing for the June 10 Derby at Epsom, a race he has yet to win.