Hero Saves Two From Helicopter Blaze
Published: May 23, 2007 | 6281st good news item since 2003
SOUTH AFRICA.- An unidentified pilot is being hailed a hero after pulling two men from the burning wreck of a helicopter which crashed at the La Mercy airport site on Tuesday.
A flight training instructor and his pupil were taken to St Augustine’s Hospital after sustaining critical injuries.
The flames which engulfed the Robinson R22 helicopter resulted in a veld fire which damaged nearly a kilometre of vegetation and took firefighters more than three hours to extinguish. The Search and Rescue Unit’s Troy Allison said the incident occurred at about 3.30pm.
“There was a pilot and crew member on board the helicopter which crashed in a fairly open flat section of veld. After crashing, the helicopter caught alight and this, coupled with the heavy winds, resulted in a major veld fire,” he said.
“A second aircraft which was in the vicinity spotted the fire and landed nearby. He managed to get to the victims, who were trapped and removed them from the wreckage.”
Allison said both victims had critical burn wounds to the whole body and were treated and stabilised at the scene before being airlifted to hospital.
The names of the men have not yet been released, but both men belong to local rescue emergency services.
One is a Netcare 911 surf rescue helicopter pilot and the trainee is with the National Sea Rescue Institute.
Paramedics say the hero pilot disappeared after they arrived.