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First responders describe Idaho Falls crash scene

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Jun 25 2013 07:34:34 PM CDT

Both men happened to be working at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport Saturday and saw the plane go down less than half a mile away in a vacant lot.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Two men are being called heroes after they were first to respond to Saturday's tragic plane crash in Idaho falls.

What started out as a quiet afternoon quickly turned into chaos for Transportation Security Administration officer Mitchell Barney and Idaho Falls police officer Mark Burnell.

Both men happened to be working at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport Saturday and saw the plane go down less than half a mile away in a vacant lot.

They were at the crash site in just minutes and said its something they won't soon forget.

"I ran right up to the plane with all of the fuel smells and I yelled at everyone to get back," said Barney.  

Most folks flee from dangerous situations; but there are some like Barney and Burnell, that rush in to help.

"There was so much fuel on the ground and such, we didn't need something to spark it," said Barney.

When a twin-engine Piper Comanche crash-landed near the Idaho Falls airport Saturday afternoon, Barney and Burnell did what they thought was right.

"The victim's voice was very compelling," said Burnell. "It has a gravitational pull. It's really hard to ignore someone who's calling out for help."

For a couple of minutes Barney and Burnell were the only two on scene able to help.

Shortly after, paramedics, firefighters and more officers joined them. From there, they say, it was an inter-agency effort.

"The wreck was just so mangled, that you couldn't reach the victim or anything," said Barney.

"I don't think it's in either one of our genobe to not be moved by that call for help," said Burnell.

Several K9 officers from the IFPD visited the 13-year-old survivor.

They said the boy is doing well and remembers everything that happened. They said she's also thankful for all of the help and support he received.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it will take about a year for the investigation into the crash to be complete.

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