Ray A. Burke saved Jack N. Holder, and attempted to save Donald E. McKee from burning, Midland, Texas, December 21, 1963. When their airplane crash-landed and caught fire from leaking fuel, Burke, 42, oil company vice-president, and pilots Holder, 42, and McKee, 42, and the fourth man aboard were injured and lost consciousness. Burke revived and climbed out an escape hatch on the left side of the plane as flames rose as much as 10 feet above most of the opposite side. Noting Holder and McKee in the cockpit section, which had broken away from the main body of the plane, Burke ran to it and tried in vain to break the window on the right side. He climbed onto the nose of the aircraft, where heat was intense, as Holder revived and opened the inner window pane. Grasping the outer pane, Burke forced it from its frame with the help of Holder. Burke jumped to the ground and aided Holder in climbing through the opening. After taking Holder to the fourth man, who had escaped through a two-foot gap behind the cockpit, Burke ran back to the airplane and again climbed onto the nose although in pain from his injuries. Flames had entered the cockpit, and heat was more intense. Burke extended his head and one arm through the window opening but could not reach McKee, who still was unconscious. Leaping to the ground, Burke ran to a fire truck which had arrived, obtained an axe, and ran back to the plane. As firemen sprayed water on the flames without much effect, Burke tried without success to break the pane of the cockpit window nearest McKee. Billy P. Smith arrived, learned that McKee still was in the aircraft, and ran to the cockpit. He also used the axe but could not break the left window. McKee, burned by flames and the intense heat, revived and lunged part way through the open right window. Smith ran around the nose of the cockpit, reached up to the opening, and with effort pulled McKee from the plane. All recovered.
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