Puentes, 39, was one of the nine people on board the Makani Kai Air Cessna that went down in the waters off Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii last month.
As the plane splashed into the water, passengers quickly abandoned the fast-sinking fuselage. "Steel-toed boots, heavy work jeans, and long sleeve shirt. It was hard and exhausting to swim with all that," said Puentes.
The pilot handed Puentes a seat cushion to use as a flotation device.
An hour later they were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Puentes is now working on getting over his newfound fear of flying, but says the friendship he developed with the plane's pilot is helping him get through it.
The NTSB's investigation into the plane crash is ongoing.