First Responders May Have Saved Young Teen’s Life in Idaho Falls Airplane Crash

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Updated: 6/25/2013 7:23 pm

It’s hard to imagine Saturday’s plane crash being any worse but that would have been the case if not for the actions of some quick thinking people on the ground.

"I was walking back into the building from lunch and heard the sound of a plane and heard the engine sounds and it sounded odd," said TSA Officer Mitchell Barney. "And so I looked in that south direction just in time to see the plane plummet right into the ground."

That's when instincts kicked in. Barney ran to the scene while calling 911. When he arrived, he noticed fuel pouring from the side of the plane. He quickly setup a perimeter and heard a voice coming from the mangled wreckage.

"I was able to see the victim through just a small opening in the plane and was able to get some medical information from him," said Officer Barney. "I found out he was doing alright but he was really just in a lot of pain. He was hollering and screaming for help. I told him that I'm going to get you help."

It was around this time that things went from bad to worse. A small fire had started in one of the planes two engines. With that much fuel around, this could have been a disaster. Fortunately another Good Samaritan had shown up just in time with a couple of fire extinguishers. We forgot to mention that a doctor also showed up to help. This sounds like a Hollywood movie or one big coincidence but Officer Burnell of the Idaho Police Department says that's just eastern Idaho.

"I think anybody in this community would have been compelled to help if they could," said Officer Burnell. "We were just lucky enough to be at a place where we could contribute to the solution."

After turning the scene over to the fire department, TSA Officer Barney returned to his post in the airport where he helped hundreds of travelers safely get to where they needed to go. He completed his shift and returned home to his loving family.

“I went home and I just held my kids," said Officer Barney. I've got four little girls that I just sat with and spent the rest of the evening with. And then later that night, I just played the scenario through in my head of what would have happened if we hadn't got that fire out and that was just something you didn't want to think about."

Both Officer Barney and Officer Burnell credit their training in helping them respond to the situation.

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