(INSIDE EDITION) — A 2012 plane crash made international headlines after two friends who survived the ordeal filmed themselves staying afloat in the Gulf of Mexico, but prosecutors now believe the whole situation was an elaborate insurance scam.
Both men have now been charged in an indictment with insurance fraud and several other offenses. Authorities believe they crashed the plane intentionally to collect an insurance payout.
Theodore Wright and friend Raymond Fosdick were flying from Baytown, Texas, to Sarasota, Fla., when their twin-engine plane caught fire in October 2012. They crash landed in the Gulf, about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
Along with the two men, Wright’s iPad, which he kept in a waterproof case, survived the crash.
As he and Fosdick struggled to stay afloat, he hit the record button.
Before the crash, the men sent out a distress signal and as they wait to be rescued, they appear remarkably calm, even smiling at times.
Three hours after their crash, the men were spotted by the Coast Guard and rescued, a happy ending that made headlines around the globe.
Following the drama, Inside Edition caught up with the friends at a flight school near New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
“Yes we’re calm,” Wright said. “We’re even jovial but when you look at our faces – you can see there is a lot of concern. I knew the search and rescue teams would have our position.”
Wright even shot a testimonial video for the iPad’s waterproof case.
Prosecutors now claim Wright “fraudulently represented that the emergency landing in the Gulf of Mexico was caused by mechanical failure rather than the result of an intentional act.”
Authorities have also alleged that Wright “attended water-landing training” before the supposed crash.
Prosecutors say the plane that sank in the Gulf was purchased for $46,000, but the insurance company paid out $84,000.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“These guys are facing a lot of time,” former federal prosecutor David Miller told Inside Edition. “It was interesting to see them record the entire situation in a very calm fashion considering the danger they put themselves in.”