Gary L. Chapin saved John L. Kidd from burning, Winslow, Arizona, August 8, 1964. When the single-engine monoplane he was piloting was caught in a downdraft over Meteor Crater, Kidd, 51, airline captain, made an emergency landing on the rocky bottom of the crater. The plane was badly damaged, and fire broke out on the engine. Kidd was severely injured and lost consciousness. Chapin, 26, airline crew scheduler, the only person with Kidd on the flight, suffered a cracked vertebra but was able to climb out of the aircraft. Anticipating explosions of the fuel tanks, Chapin ran 15 feet from the plane. He then saw that Kidd was unconscious in the pilot’s seat, while flames were spreading over the fuselage. In severe pain, Chapin ran back to the open door of the airplane. He extended his upper body inside, unfastened Kidd’s seat belt, and pulled him out of the plane. By the time Chapin had dragged Kidd 60 feet away, flames were rising six feet above the fuselage and the wings and had spread into the interior. One of the fuel tanks containing 25 gallons of gasoline then exploded and spread flames over the rest of the aircraft. Soon afterward the other tank exploded. Kidd and Chapin were removed from the crater by helicopter, hospitalized, and recovered.
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