Rescuer talks about saving man after plane crash

NewsChannel 15 talked to a man who rescued the homeowner from his burning mobile home just minutes after a plane crashed into in Wednesday night.

The plane crashed around into the mobile home, in the Creekside Mobile Home Park off Little River Neck Road, around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday. The pilot, Danny Carroll, 54, died in the crash along with his wife Raychell, 66, and their granddaughter Mallory Fields, 4. They are from Kannapolis, NC.

To Mason Collins, the crash sounded like a sputtering two-stroke engine, maybe a moped crashing into a light pole. Then he looked out his bedroom window, saw a huge explosion at a home nearby and knew it was much more. "I grabbed my shoes, my light and went to help however I could," Collins said.

Collins called 9-1-1 and ran to the burning home.

He has basic Red Cross training and wanted to help, but there was nothing he could do for the people in the plane. He did help a man who lived in the mobile home that was engulfed in flames.

Collins said the man's hand was badly burned and his back was hurt from a door that blew into him from the crash.

Collins said the man wanted to go back to get his dog out of the house. "Then after the building was really catching on fire I went in and just told him, he really needs to get out, and I didn't touch him or anything, but I pretty much pushed him out."

Collins said it was shocking to see his neighbor's home blow up and he was scared at first, but went in because he wanted to help. "When it started really getting smoky and when I saw orange that's when I decided that it was getting dangerous for me and I was going to call everyone out."

At the same time, other neighbors were seeing a big orange glow in the sky followed quickly by police and emergency crews. "Quite a few firefighters. The fire was out fast. I was really impressed on how quick the fire went out," said Karen Rutkowski.

Dean Sylvester lives half a block away. By the time he figured out what had happened, Sylvester said the flames were under control and hundreds of neighbors had gathered to see what happened.

Collins tried to help EMS crews in whatever way he could, but there was little he could do other than keep people away from the flames.

The man's dog died in the fire.

To read about the NTSB investigation into the crash, click here.