I was involved with the airplane crash last week.
On Oct. 27, at approximately 4:20 p.m., I was cycling southbound on Russ Baker Way on Sea Island at the time the incident involving Northern Thunderbird flight 204.
Hearing a distinctively loud crash, I looked behind me and saw the burning wreckage skidding diagonally across the road and into my path.
With sufficient time, I was able to get out of the way before the plane slid to a stop where I may have been, had I continued going straight.
With a trail of burning fuel along the skid path and the flames surrounding the aircraft growing in intensity, I had to run around the plane in order to get away from the expanding cloud of smoke.
At that time, an extraordinary rescue effort, initially involving many other bystanders, began.
I just want to make clear that my role in the rescue was only periphery. I helped by getting an injured passenger, who had already come out of the plane, further away from the fire in order to minimize the risk from a potential explosion.
My initial response was to run towards the fire and attempt to help, but with intense heat and wearing synthetic clothing that may have melted, I backed off a bit.
Several motorists ran directly to the door when I was still trying to decide on the best course of action to take.
With growing flames releasing a tremendous amount of heat and toxic gases, approaching the fire was clearly dangerous, especially without any protective clothing or equipment.
At that point, the left rear door of the aircraft was opened and the injured passengers began to evacuate, with the help of the bystanders that were at the door.
At that point, many more bystanders, including myself, helped get the injured away from the aircraft.
When I returned to the plane for the second time, the first fire truck from the Richmond Fire Department was just arriving.
I returned to those that were across the street to begin first aid assessments. Both victims there were conscious and stable.
It was a truly amazing sight, seeing such a swift response from the public. While I was still assessing the risk and considering my next course of action, several others were already running towards the door.
These people reached into the fuselage and pulled many of the injured passengers escape.
Just a few metres back, I was a part of a larger team of bystanders who provided an organized response without directions or leadership, united by one goal - to protect human life.
I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Luc Fortin, the pilot of flight 204 who succumbed to his injuries.
Also, I wish the co-pilot, the rest of the flight, as well as those in the car that was hit, the best of luck in recovery from this incident.
To my fellow citizens that helped in the rescue, especially those who reached into the fuselage, I'm extremely proud of your selfless actions that likely saved lives.
In a time-sensitive environment, you made decisions that valued other people's lives as much as your own.
This is the spirit that defines a strong community and I hope everyone will be able to learn from your actions.
Life is precious, whether our own or somebody else's, so let's reflect that in all our daily choices and business practices.