It’s hard to blame people for apparently not approaching a plane that crashed and burned in a Detroit neighborhood Sunday night, preferring instead to watch from a safe distance and roll the video.
And yet, it’s discomforting that people stood and watched, apparently unaware someone was still alive inside.
Take heart. There’s more going on here than you think. Sometimes the video lies.
The Detroit Free Press carried the details of what the people on the ground were actually doing.
Larry Whitfield, 72, who lives around the corner and has been in the neighborhood for 20 years, said, “The plane went right over my house. I was in the house and heard it hit.”
He said he ran out of the house and around the corner and immediately encountered a plane that had crashed and people trying to get passengers out. He said the plane was on fire.
“One guy, big guy, by a window couldn’t get out and he couldn’t breathe. I had a stick. Didn’t work, so another guy got an ax,” Whitfield said.
With the crowd yelling at them that the plane was about to explode, Whitfield said he and the other man used the ax to break out the window and then open the plane’s door.
At one point, one passenger got out and emergency rescue personnel began working on him, Whitfield said, but the others could not escape.
Whitfield said he looked in as closely as he could and said the big guy he had tried to help “had to be dead, his legs was all burned up.”
When asked if he felt like a hero, Whitfield said “anybody would have done it.”
“Courageous citizens, it’s the type of citizen we do have here in the city of Detroit,” a police captain said. “And I think that they should be recognized at some point and time in the near future.”