"I think if I said anything to Mom, it was, 'Mom, we're going to have to ditch this thing.'"

In less than three minutes, they hit the water — three miles from land.

The wind that had pushed them closer to shore also increased the force with which the plane hit the water, and next to him, Mary's face slammed twice into the control panel.

Musical education

Music always had been the focus of Mary's life.

"She wanted a marimba from the time she was a little girl," recalled her sister, Lyla Stoike, who lives in Sequim, Wash. But their parents made her learn the piano first.

"When she was 13, she got a marimba, which is like a giant xylophone," Lanny said. "By the time she was … 16 she was playing with the Kansas City philharmonic orchestra. In her youth, Mary even accompanied Bob Hope and played on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

After graduating from Wheaton College in Illinois, she earned a master's degree from a music conservatory in Chicago.

Into her golden years, she performed — with her childhood marimba teacher — on cruise ships that traveled the globe.

Ultimately, "she played herself deaf, pounding on that thing," Lanny said.

"Mary was a beautiful lady. She was not a great musician," said Lance, who had been her husband of 32 years before their divorce. "She was a performer. She got up in front of a crowd and she lit them up."

After the crash

There was no time to climb out of the Swift before it was under the waves.

Lanny tried to release his mother from her seat, but he couldn't find the belt latch under her bulky sweater. He resurfaced without her.

But right behind him she "bobbed up like a cork."

Lanny saw a seat cushion, a headset pouch and a plastic bag filled with frozen soup floating around them. He grabbed the freezer bag and pulled out the soup, then tried to fill the bag with air, but it wouldn't stay inflated.

His mother seemed dazed, Lanny said, but she was able to float on her back. Lanny was furiously treading water, which hovered around 70 degrees, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

At least 20 minutes passed before Mary asked Lanny if they'd been in a crash.

Soon after the crash, helicopters and small planes appeared in the sky, and Lanny was certain they'd been seen.

The Maryland State Police used two helicopters in the search. The Coast Guard sent out an aircraft and a boat. Maryland Natural Resources Police assisted with two boats.