A police officer wearing no protective equipment joined firefighters onboard the flaming wreckage of the Asiana Airlines jet that crash landed in San Francisco to help injured passengers to safety.
Jim Cunningham of the San Francisco Police Department arrived on the scene as the Boeing 777’s emergency chutes were deployed, he said at a press conference for emergency responders this afternoon.
Cunningham said he and his partner ran to the front of the plane and passed their knives to the flight crew, who used them to help passengers escape.
Then Cunningham entered the 777, where he saw some passengers injured, and others too scared to move. “I didn’t think about it,” he said. “I was just doing my job.”
He followed the lead of the firefighters in the plane, helping everyone to safety.
While in the 777, Cunningham also grabbed an iPhone that had been left behind, thinking it could later be used by its owner’s family to verify they were alive.
“I thought, somebody’s going to want this,” he explained, and later gave the phone to Asiana Airlines.
“It’s unbelievable to have that kind of calm and presence of mind,” San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said of Cunningham’s actions.
“My hat goes off to you,” firefighter Lt. Dave Monteverdi said at the press conference.
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