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Compton hero honored after plane crash

April 22, 2008 8:30:51 AM PDT
A Compton man, who risked his life to save the lives of his neighbors following a frightening plane crash, was honored Tuesday by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.Kenneth Leo Wyatt says he wasn't worried about his own safety, but just wanted to help the victims.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Amy Powell's report from downtown Los Angeles.

Wyatt doesn't think of himself as a hero but Tuesday he was honored by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for his quick actions to aid victims of a plane crash.

A week and a half ago a twin-engine Cessna lost power while attempting to make an emergency landing at Compton Airport. It struck one home and crashed into another. Wyatt, who lives next door to one of the homes, heard the crash and ran to help free the pilot and a passenger from the wreckage.

"The most scared part I was, me and my wife, when the plane hit," said Wyatt. "We didn't know what it was. We didn't know if it was car trouble, we didn't know what it was. So, that's the most scared I really was. Going in the house, I just carried him with me, the man above, and said 'Hey protect me' and I just went in. I did, it was just, I didn't think about it."

Wyatt also rushed to his neighbor's home to help her and an injured friend. He was joined by rescuers from the Compton Fire Department and sheriff's deputies, who were also honored Tuesday for their efforts.

"The word hero bothers me," said Wyatt. "I'm going to be honest with you, it bothers me, but, because I look at it as a natural reaction, you know. But, you know, people keep telling me this comes with the territory."

It wasn't the first time Wyatt had that 'natural' reaction. Twenty years ago he pulled another man from the wreckage of a plane in Compton, after it crashed into a telephone poll.

"I don't know if I should get into the aircraft field, back into it because I was in the aircraft field years ago," said Wyatt. "But I don't know, you know. It's just the right place at the right time and having the heart to do it."

All of the victims of the plane crash in Compton survived.

 

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