ALTHA, Fla. (WMBB) — Usually, ShandsCair crews respond to a situation after it’s been controlled.
But on Tuesday, May 3rd, they were some of the first to the scene of a fatal plane crash at Calhoun Liberty Airport.
“One of our pilots witnessed the crash,” Andy Donaldson, UF ShandsCair Chief Flight Nurse of the Western Division said. “He notified my medical crew. They of course gathered everything they could along with fire extinguishers because there was an active fire at the time.”
Donaldson said at that point, those fire extinguishers were the only means to put the flames out.
“Our pilot, Davey Shackelford, started passing the extinguishers over the fence to what I believe were some Department of Forestry contractors that were there,” Donaldson said.
Donaldson also said he doesn’t want to know what would have happened if his crew wouldn’t have been so close by and so brave.
“Everybody worked in concert and I believe if anyone piece would have been missed or just slightly out of whack a little bit, the people were not there that, you know, to include the Department of Forestry, quick response by EMS, and my guys, there would have been four fatalities we’d been mourning,” Donaldson said.
Two people were saved from the burning plane.
Donaldson said one of the victims is at Shands Hospital in Gainesville.
“I can’t release medical information, but I feel very confident that both will do very well so they did an excellent job.”
Donaldson said he feels lucky his crew was on the scene and he’s very grateful for all the first responders who helped save the lives of the two plane crash survivors.