Irvin Gelsinger saved Gerrit Van Soest and helped to save Friedrich Tejkl from burning, Williams Lake, British Columbia, January 23, 1970. When their airplane crashed from a low altitude onto thick ice covering Beaver Lake, Van Soest, 39, sports store proprietor, and Tejkl, 37, logging contractor, were injured and knocked unconscious. The front end of the aircraft was damaged badly, and fire broke out. Gelsinger, 32, railroad brakeman, who was at the lake, ran to the airplane and opened the cabin door. Van Soest fell through the doorway onto the ice and revived. Another man arrived; and together he and Gelsinger tried in vain to free Tejkl, whose legs were caught. Heat and flames increased; and ammunition in the cabin began exploding. Gelsinger and the other man finally freed Tejkl. Immediately after Tejkl had been removed from the airplane, flames enveloped the fuselage. Tejkl had sustained fatal injuries, but Van Soest recovered.
51914 – 585051914-5850