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Good Samaritan talks about IE plane rescue

February 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
He was in the right place at the right time. Now an Oregon man is being hailed as a hero for pulling the victims of Monday's plane crash out of the wreckage in San Bernardino.

Cameron Johnson was called to San Bernardino as part of his two-year mission with the Mormon Church.

On Monday, the 19-year-old got another calling -- it's one that saved the lives of two men in a downed airplane.

"I just kind of thought it was a stunt plane until I saw it go down like that," said Johnson.

Johnson says he had just finished lunch and was preparing for a hike in the local mountains when he saw the Beechcraft Baron 55 sharply bank and then dive toward the ground.

Johnson jumped out of the car he was riding in and ran to help.

"I remember going down the hill and just trying to think of what I could do at that time, what was possible for me to help," said Johnson. "I was afraid the plane was going to blow up."

The twin-engine plane was trying to reach the San Bernardino International Airport but crashed into an RV storage lot less than half a mile way.

Johnson had to overcome several obstacles to reach the pilot and his passenger. He had to run down a steep embankment, then cut through sharp brush before scaling a 9-foot fence with barbs at the top.

Johnson and two others helped pull the injured men to safety. Johnson, a former Boy Scout, stayed by the pilot's side asking him questions until help arrived.

"I kind of felt the need to keep talking to him, keep him conscious, make sure he is doing OK," said Johnson.

The pilot, Lonny Rollins, and his passenger, Greg Fitzgerald, are recovering at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Wednesday, their families released this statement:

"The Rollins family and Fitzgerald family wish to thank with all their hearts the people who came forward at the time of the accident to help Lonny and Greg."

Despite his act of heroism, Johnson doesn't consider himself one.

"God works many miracles in many ways that we don't know and this might be one," said Johnson.