Man earns national medal for pulling couple from burning plane near New Carlisle

A Centerville man is among 18 civilians recognized by the Carnegie Hero Fund for risking their lives to save others. Each will receive the Carnegie Medal for civilian heroism.

A small aircraft crash-landed Oct. 13, 2020, on a grass runway at the Andy Barnhart Memorial Airport in Bethel Twp. near New Carlisle before overturning and catching fire. Joyce and Timothy Seymour, 72 and 73 respectively, remained temporarily dazed and inside the cockpit as flames erupted in the engine area.

Spotting the crash, 56-year-old pilot Patrick Driscoll rushed to the scene and to the cockpit’s passenger side. He crouched on the plane’s wing, which contained a fuel tank, and released Joyce Seymour’s seat belt, freeing her. He then helped her to a point several feet away from the plane.

ExploreAircraft flips on runway, bursts into flames; 2 suffer minor injuries

Driscoll then ran to the wing at the pilot’s side as the flames intensified and spread toward the cockpit. He again crouched on a wing, released Timothy’s seat belt, and pulled Timothy, who was larger than him, from the plane as another man, Jared Berner, arrived with a fire extinguisher.

The fire shortly spread to destroy the plane. Driscoll’s head was singed, but he recovered.

Shortly after the crash, the Ohio State Highway Patrol also recognized Driscoll and Berner for their “swift actions and teamwork” to help save the Seymours’ lives.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awards the Carnegie Medal to individuals from the U.S. and Canada who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. With this announcement, a total of 10,291 Carnegie Medals have been awarded since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904.

Commission Chair Mark Laskow said each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 118 years since the fund was established by industrialist philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, nearly $44 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

For more information on the Carnegie Medal and the history of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, visit www.carnegiehero.org. To nominate someone for the medal, complete a nomination form online or write to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, 436 Seventh Ave., Suite 1101, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

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