Crawley Lee Ellis, 43, truck driver, rescued Robert P. Hicks, 43, U.S. Naval Reserve officer, from burning, Jacksonville, Florida, November 6, 1966. Hicks was with the pilot and a crewman aboard a Navy helicopter when the engine failed at an altitude of 250 feet. The descending aircraft struck a tree, fell to the ground in an upright position, and burst into flames. Ellis, who was 100 feet away, saw the pilot leave the cockpit and roll on the ground to extinguish flames on his clothing. Noting that Hicks still was in the burning cockpit, Ellis ran toward the helicopter. He was within 10 feet of it when Hicks, his clothing afire, was blown out of the cockpit by an explosion. Ellis, who had stitches in one hand as a result of a recent automobile accident, ran to Hicks within six feet of the flames that covered about half of the fuselage and rose 15 feet. Heat was intense. With both hands Ellis grasped Hicks amid the flames on his clothing and dragged him 10 feet a way. The pilot, who had put out the flames on his attire, ran to them. Ellis and the pilot carried Hicks 30 feet farther from the helicopter. The remaining flames on Hicks were smothered by blankets. Learning that a crewman still was in the helicopter, Ellis started back to the aircraft but was restrained by his wife. Signal flares in the cockpit exploded, increasing the flames. The crewman perished. The pilot recovered. Hicks, who had suffered extensive burns, succumbed in 20 days. Ellis sustained burns to his hands which healed.
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