Scotts Valley group helped save Flight 214 crash survivors

July 9, 2013 5:58:41 PM PDT
A group of eight people from Scotts Valley escaped with minor cuts and bruises in the Asiana Flight 214 crash, but the psychological wounds may be more serious.

Eight members of an elite martial arts academy had gone to South Korea for a tournament; and to qualify for advanced black belts. When they crashed landed at SFO, their discipline helped them to evacuate quickly and efficiently.

"When I came down the chute, I looked over at the wing and I could still see fuel dropping from the, from the wing. And then I looked back and I saw flames underneath as well," said passenger David Schimmel. "So my immediate reaction was, OK, I got out of the plane but there's something else that could happen, so we just ran."

To escape danger, they ran toward the rear of the Boeing 777 jetliner. They discovered four severely injured people -- three of them passengers, the fourth a flight attendant.

Despite repeated yells for help, they couldn't get the attention of first responders who were at the front and mid-section of the fuselage.

"We called 911 25 minutes after the plane crashed and at that time, they said, 'we have all people going there, we're doing the best we can.' It was still, we would say, a good 10 to 15 minutes until we got somebody to help with us in the back," said passenger Elliot Stone.

The team had nothing but high praise for the first responders and how they handled the rescue operation. But they knew until help arrived, they could offer comfort by staying with the injured.

"We stayed, we stayed with each of our victims until emergency personnel got there. And once they got there and took control of that person, we left them and went looking for more people," said passenger Walter Stone.

They lost competition medals and all their belongings but they are grateful all of them survived.


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