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Vintage Helicopter, Crew Flew Into Service After Reno Air Race Crash

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A P-51 Mustang airplane crashes into the edge of the grandstands at the Reno Air show on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011 in Reno Nevada. The World War II-era fighter plane flown by a veteran Hollywood stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward plunged Friday into the edge of the grandstands during the popular air race creating a horrific scene strewn with smoking debris. (AP)

A P-51 Mustang airplane crashes into the edge of the grandstands at the Reno Air show on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011 in Reno Nevada. The World War II-era fighter plane flown by a veteran Hollywood stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward plunged Friday into the edge of the grandstands during the popular air race creating a horrific scene strewn with smoking debris. (AP)

CONCORD (CBS 5) – In the moments after the September 16th Reno air race crash, a group of men who were uniquely qualified to help leapt into action.

Pilot Ray Murphy’s been flying since 1966, including two tours in Vietnam and a career with the Federal Aviation Administration. He’s part of a team based out of Concord’s Buchanan Air Field that were at the Reno Air Races with their vintage Huey on display when they heard the crash.

Within minutes the Murphy and fellow pilot Brent Marker were in motion-transporting crash victims to a park across from the hospital.

“Someone requested ‘can you help?’ recalled helicopter co-owner Chris Miller. “Basically, our team jumped into action. We got the wheels on the helicopter. The group that was next to us came over and helped everyone push it out onto the tarmac. They pushed this 6,000 lb. aircraft up a slope.”

To make room for passengers they had to remove seats.

Everyone the team transported survived. The other day Ray got a call from one of them.

“He called to thank me for taking him to the hospital. And to me that was very rewarding,” said Murphy.

The aircraft is owned by two Army veterans who bought it to honor the service of Vietnam Veterans.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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