Randell Ranson attempted to save Thanish Kalis from burning, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 16, 2010. While helping to secure a helicopter to a flatbed trailer on the tarmac of an airport, Kalis, 46, was struck by the helicopter during its maneuvering. He fell to the pavement, the helicopter crashing next to the trailer and leaking fuel. Ranson, 39, aircraft mechanic, was at a hangar nearby and witnessed the accident. He immediately ran to Kalis, en route seeing the puddling fuel. Ranson removed a piece of wreckage from Kalis and then grasped him by the arms to move him. The fuel ignited explosively, throwing Ranson 10 feet back and setting fire to the helicopter wreckage. Others responding with fire extinguishers fought the flames and removed Kalis. He died at the scene. Ranson was hospitalized overnight for treatment of burns, up to second-degree, to his legs, left forearm, and face.
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Randell Daryl Ranson, 44, of Heber City, Utah, died July 1, 2015. He was born June 7, 1971, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Sharon and Daryl Ranson.
Ranson graduated from Alta High School in Sandy, Utah, in 1989. He later earned his private pilot license and airframe and power plant mechanic license from Salt Lake Community College.
Ranson served in the U.S. Army from 1989 to 2000 as an Apache attack helicopter crew chief. He served in Operation Desert Storm as an instructor and drill sergeant.
He worked as an aircraft mechanic at Salt Lake City International Airport, where, on July 16, 2010, he attempted to save a man’s life after the man was struck by a helicopter on the airport tarmac. In June 2011, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awarded Ranson the Carnegie Medal in recognition of his actions to aid the man, who died at the scene.
Ranson’s hobbies included flying, gardening, boating, wakeboarding, and building and flying remote-control airplanes. He also enjoyed canning, cooking, and brewing.
He was buried at Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery in Sandy.
(Edited from an obituary provided by the family.)