A 19-year-old found himself to be a hero when a helicopter crashed into the tractor he was driving at his family’s cherry orchard in Washington State. Not only was he able to free himself from the wreckage, but he also saved the pilot.
The New York Times reports the teen, Logan Schneider was busy “blowing cherries” (a process to dry off fruits following rain), while wearing noise-canceling headphones. Suddenly he heard what sounded like two thumps around 9 a.m. on July 6.
“I looked up and that’s when I saw it,” he recalled. “As soon as I saw it coming down on me I was like, ‘Oh no, this is definitely gonna hit me.’”
That’s when it hit him… or really that’s when it hit his tractor. The Times reports Schneider immediately felt a sharp pain in his back, but he was able to free himself by pushing off the tractor’s steering wheel and slipping out.“That’s when I heard the pilot screaming for help,” he said.
The pilot – Cori Johnson – was upside down in his Hiller UH-12E, and unable to unbuckle his seatbelt. This all while a fire was starting to burn throughout the helicopter. Luckily, he was the only passenger.
“I had to go through the fire, reach my arms through and unclip him,” Schneider said.
According to the Orondo Firefighters association who handled the scene, upon arrival both the tractor and helicopter were on fire. Firefighters had assessed that the helicopter had struck high-voltage power lines when it fell. Those lines would need to be de-energized before they could finish putting the fire out.
Both Johnson and Schneider were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Schneider said he had small second-degree burns on his arms, and muscle damage in his back that will result in his need to wear a back brace. He also said parts of this skin were raw to the touch.
As for Johnson’s injuries, those are not clear at this time. Johnson and Schneider have yet to connect since the incident.
The National Transportation Safety Board said on Wednesday that the crash is under investigation. Despite this ordeal, Schneider hasn’t been deterred from pursuing his dream career – being a pilot.