Two men who saw a plane crash in Burke County on Monday pulled the 84-year-old pilot from the burning wreckage of the single-engine aircraft on Monday.
After the plane went down, Tyler Woodard and Brian Stevens rushed over to rescue John Henry Shell Sr., television station WBTV reports. The crash happened Monday afternoon, according to the Burke County EMS.
Woodard told WBTV that he knew something was wrong when he saw the plane circling and heard its engine struggling near his apartment building.
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“It hit the trees and exploded in flames,” he told WBTV.
Woodard and Stevens ran to the burning plane and pulled Shell to safety as he stumbled away, WBTV reports.
Morganton Public Safety Chief Ronnie Rector says Shell was taken to a nearby hospital and then transferred to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Officials did not give an update on his condition.
It is unclear what caused the crash, and Federal Aviation Administration officials are expected to begin an investigation Tuesday.
Burke County is about 190 miles west of Raleigh.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.