Timothy Elbridge West helped to rescue Steven E. Bull from burning, El Segundo, California, March 13, 2011. Bull, 52, was at the controls of a commercial helicopter being used to lift heavy equipment from the roof of a two-story industrial building. During one such lift, the craft lost partial engine power, sending it crashing to the pavement beside the building, where it lay on its side. The helicopter caught fire as Bull, injured and unconscious, remained in the cockpit, strapped to his seat and otherwise trapped in the wreckage, by an arm. A coworker, West, 41, pilot, who was working the job from the building’s roof, immediately responded to the scene with another man. Joining another of Bull’s coworkers at the wreckage, who had gained access to the cockpit and released Bull’s safety belt and shoulder harness, West extended his upper body into the cockpit, despite flames entering it from behind Bull. He pulled hard on Bull’s arm to free it from the wreckage and then with the two other rescuers removed him from the cockpit and dragged him several feet away. Flames grew quickly to consume the cockpit, cabin, and much of the fuselage, including the craft’s two fuel tanks. Bull was hospitalized three days for treatment of his injuries, which included minor burns, and he recovered.
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