Thursday, June 3, 2010

The moment bystanders battled plane crash inferno in desperate attempt to rescue family trapped inside
By Mail Foreign Service

Rescue attempt: Bystanders try to lift the burning wreckage of a Cessna 206 plane as they search for survivors shortly after it crashed in a busy business district near downtown Anchorage on Tuesday

This is the moment that horrified Good Samaritans risked their lives in a desperate attempt to rescue a family trapped on board a burning plane.

The small Cessna 206 crashed in a busy business district near downtown Anchorage, Alaska, during rush hour on Tuesday evening.

A four-year-old boy was killed - but miraculously, four others were pulled from the plane alive.

Heroes: Police said the lives of four people on board - including a two-year-old child - were saved by the Good Samaritans

Brave bystanders raced to help those onboard after the plane clipped the roof of a motel and crashed in front of an unoccupied former car lot office.

'It was the citizens who did the work and pulled people out,' police Lt. Dave Parker said.

A witness, Hunter Brosh, said a girl was among those pulled out alive. Brosh was one of the motorists who jumped out of their cars to help get people out of the burning plane.

Anchorage police said in a statement late Tuesday that 16-year-old Rachel Zientak of Texas was one of the injured passengers and was to be transferred to a Seattle hospital.

Miraculously, no one else was hurt as the plane blazed in busy downtown Anchorate

Also onboard were the pilot of the aircraft, 34-year-old Preston Cavner; his wife, 32-year-old Stacie Cavner; and their son, two-year-old Hudson, police said. The three will be flown to a hospital in Portland, Oregon.

Authorities identified the four-year-old boy who died as another son of the couple, Miles Cavner.

The single-engine plane was registered to Cavner and Julian Inc., a guide and outfitting business based in Port Alsworth, Alaska.

Police said the Cavners operate a lodge at Port Alsworth, Alaska, and Zientak was one of their employees.

Jennifer Rodi, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said it was too early to say what caused the crash.

The aircraft went down after departing Merrill Field about a mile (less than two kilometers) away.

Rodi said the four survivors were critically injured. However, Brosh said the girl onboard was able to unbuckle herself before she was helped out of the wreckage

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