Heroine carer saves doctor's life in plane crash inferno

A carer saved a disabled doctor’s life in the United States when she carried him out of his blazing home after it was hit by a light aircraft.

A carer saved a disabled doctor’s life in the United States when she carried him out of his blazing home after it was hit by a light aircraft.

The plane had crashed into the Dallas residential area shortly after takeoff, yesterday, setting two houses on fire and killing both people on board.

The cause of the crash was not yet known, but the weather was rainy and foggy and the pilot reported having problems after take-off.

The single-engine 1975 Bellanca, a popular private plane made largely of fabric and wood, crashed at about 10.10am local time, said Roland Herwig, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. It had just taken off from Addison Airport and was bound for Amarillo.

The plane crashed into a vacant corner house, then skidded across the street, where most of the aircraft ended up in the garage of a second home, said Deputy Fire Chief Lester Mount.

Neighbours said the second house belonged to Bud Thompson, a doctor who uses a wheelchair and was rescued by his carer, Elnora Denmark.

“I just heard a big crash and I thought it was a bomb,” Denmark said. “And I thought, ‘Just come back to myself,’ because it almost knocked me out.”

Matt Sousa, who lives a block away, ran to the scene and found Denmark, who said she needed to get something and ran back into the blazing house.

“I kept screaming at her to get out,” said Sousa, 34. ”Then she came out and she had the little man in her arms.”

Firefighters said neither Thompson nor Denmark was hurt.

Denmark said she was not a hero and credited God for giving her the strength to carry Thompson.

The pilot was Dr David Knowles of Bullard, said Alex Lemishko, investigator-in-charge for the National Transportation Safety Board. His passenger was David Moore, 55, of Jacksonville, Texas.

Foggy conditions prompted Knowles to file an instrument flight plan as required by aviation officials.

Minutes later, the pilot radioed flight communications and said: ”I lost my panel.”

“Whether he was having problems seeing his panel or problems with an instrument, I don’t know,” Lemishko said.

The fog had limited visibility to about 500 feet, said Greg McClane, a private pilot who went to the crash site.

Knowles had been the medical director at Sundown Ranch, an East Texas substance abuse treatment centre, for about 17 years, said Robert Power, the centre’s founder. Knowles also had a private practice in the Tyler area.

The crash site is about three miles south of the airport in a north Dallas neighbourhood.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox