SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The very first first responders to the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport last year have been publicly acknowledged for the first time.

The Airfield Safety Officers on duty at SFO on July 6, 2013 received commendations at Tuesday’s San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting.

Henry Choy was among the five ASO’s honored at San Francisco City Hall.

“I was probably there within a minute of the crash,” he said. “I was just amazed to see the airplane smoking, passengers exiting the aircraft and the tail section broken off.”

Choy was the first first responder on scene and he quickly started pulling people to safety from the front of the aircraft, when the second first responder, fellow ASO Alexis Esguerra arrived.

Earlier, Esguerra described the scene, as he said there was a cluster of passengers within 30 feet of a fire on the plane.

“They were literally standing on the wing. That’s when I switched modes,” he said. “I had to get everybody away from this aircraft.”

Esguerra carried several people from the back of the plane to safety, including a 10-year-old girl and an elderly woman. He called it humbling to be honored by the city of San Francisco.

“We had over 300 people that needed our assistance, many of them who couldn’t move on their own,” Esguerra said. “So we just committed ourselves to doing the right thing and that was helping our fellow man.”

Airfield Safety Officers John Batkowski, Brian Horn and Bernardo Magana were also honored on Tuesday.

Three people died when Asiana Flight 214 crashed at SFO and 180 others were injured.


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