BLAINE, Minn. (KMSP) - Kevin Potter arrived at the scene of a plane crash Thursday before emergency crews arrived to the scene in Blaine, Minnesota.
“I saw the plane was in trouble when it was going,” said Kevin Potter, a good Samaritan who jumped into action to help save the victim of the crash. “Coming in and watched it crash and everything.”
Kevin Potter witnessed the terrifying episode unfold while driving back to his nearby office just after 11 a.m.
Fire had engulfed the badly damaged 1955 t-28 Trojan and Kevin knew he had to help.
“The plane instantly went up in flames. I immediately pulled over on the bike path, called 911 and I could see the gentleman on fire on the ground,” he said.
“It’s pretty gruesome to come up to a guy and he is still on fire,” said Jonathan Wells, another civilian first responder. “And you’re trying to get the fire off of him.”
Wells teamed up with Potter. They didn’t hesitate and jumped over the fence and climbed through the airfield’s exterior fence along Radisson Road.
The pair then made sure the flames on the pilots flight gear were completely out and then dragged him 50 yards away from the burning wreckage because they feared an explosion.
“He said he needed lots of water,” said Wells. “He had burns on his face and chest area.”
The pilot was identified as Chuck Cook, 65, of Ham Lake. He's a veteran aviator. Cook was flown by helicopter to Hennepin County Medical Center.
Fellow pilots watched the emergency response nearby and were distraught.
“We’re just concerned about anyone that goes down, but particularly a friend,” said Darrel Starr, a local pilot. “We’ve lost a couple of friends this way.”
Authorities described Cook’s injures at a mid-day news conference as “serious,” but non-life threatening. They singled out Potter and Wells' heroics.
“It certainly may have had a different outcome if they hadn’t been there and done that,” said Brian Podany, the Blaine Police Chief.
The pair of good Samaritans insist it was pure adrenaline in the moment.
“Yeah, [we] saw the man on fire. I knew he needed help, I had to get out there to help him,” Potter said.