"We were under a rain of aviation fuel:" resident

By Glenn Hicks
December 14, 2017 - 12:06pm

One of the many people who helped in the rescue after Wednesday’s plane crash in Fond du Lac described working in a “rain of aviation fuel.”

Raymond Sanger was at home with his family and friends when they heard about the crash. They drove to the airport, but couldn’t see anything. The West Wind plane, with 25 people onboard, crashed about a kilometer away.

“We looked around [the airport] for maybe fifteen minutes and that’s when we saw the flashing lights of vehicles,” Sanger told paNOW. “We just started to run through the bush and there were other people running too.”

Sanger said he was in shock, but everyone started to help first responders get people out of the wreckage.

“We were using our cell phones because it was so dark,” he said. “Someone shouted ‘don’t use your lighters’ [because of the aviation fuel coming from the wing]."

Sanger said he grabbed a flashlight that was on the inside of the plane.

“We were standing under this wing and it was like we were all standing under the rain,” he said. “The gas was leaking everywhere… one spark and everybody would be gone.”

Sanger said people were ripping pieces of the plane apart to try to get to the remaining passengers who were still pinned inside the aircraft.

“We broke everything out of that plane… the boys were outside ripping things apart,” he recalled. “After we got the man out I crawled back inside where we’d ripped things apart. I took my jacket off and put it over the woman. I was just staying with them and keeping them alive, making sure they didn’t go under.”

Sanger said it seemed like everyone in the community who was available was there helping out. He realized how harrowing the entire experience was.

“We’re the luckiest people who ever lived to get these people out of that plane… because the plane was full of gas and there was no spark. My clothes were soaking wet with fuel.”

 

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