DETROIT — A truly harrowing video captures footage of a single-engine plane on fire. Then, moments later, a teenager rolls out and runs away from the wreckage.
The 17-year-old caught on video is the son of Greg and Julie Boaz, who were killed Sunday night when their Cessna 210 went down outside of Detroit’s Coleman A. Young International Airport. He is reportedly in critical condition.
That the teen was able to escape from the plane is reportedly thanks to witnesses, chief among them Cordell Owens. WXYZ reports that he ran toward the scene and “the gentleman in the plane started hollering and screaming.”
Larry Whitfield, 72, tells the Detroit Free Press he tried to use a stick to help the boy get out. “Didn’t work, so another guy got an ax,” he says.
That guy was Owens, who was able to help the teen, identified by the Detroit News as Peyton Boaz, escape.
“I don’t feel like a hero,” Owens says, “but it is something that I had to do.”
Click2Houston reports the trio were traveling from Houston to Detroit to see Greg’s daughter play in the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championship. They reportedly stopped in Arkansas along the way, departing around 4 p.m. Sunday.
An NTSB investigator describes the subsequent flight as routine but says that after the 54-year-old was given clearance to land, he reported that his landing gear did not deploy and, later, that he was running out of fuel. The aircraft hit a tree and then flipped.
Greg’s nephew describes the teen as suffering from smoke inhalation and some third-degree burns. His mother is with him in the hospital; Julie, 48, was his stepmother. The FAA and NTSB are investigating.