Neighbors act as first responders after Columbus plane crash

Ruble was family friend of pilot

COLUMBUS, Ind. - One couple became first responders when they used ordinary water hoses to help two men who had just survived a Columbus plane crash.

Larry and Connie Ruble live in the home across the street from where the plane crashed at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Their quick thinking has earned them credit for helping to save the lives of Gerald Clayton and Dennis King.

IMAGES: Plane crashes into Columbus home

Larry Ruble didn't notice too much across the street from his house on Thursday, but then he heard a loud boom.

"And looked around and there was the black smoke and probably the tank blowing at that time," Ruble said.

He said that was when he knew it was bad, so he ran to the back yard of the house and saw that the plane was fully engulfed in flames.

He saw the two injured survivors lying in the grass when he noticed a familiar face.

"I could see the pilot through the smoke and the flames across the fence and then realized I knew him," Ruble said.

Ruble said the pilot, Clayton, was a family friend of his.

"He built this plane eight, nine, 10 years ago. He and his wife enjoyed flying it. They had flown all over this part of the country," he said.

The Rubles became first responders when they noticed both men were badly burned. Larry Ruble tended to the passenger.

"He said could you please spray my back cause it was badly burned so we sprayed it, didn't want to touch it or anything, got some clean towels to clean his head and face off with," Ruble said.

Connie Ruble tended to the pilot.

Larry Ruble said his pilot friend did a remarkable job with an impossible situation.

“He knew what he was doing, I think it's just wonderful that he just got the corner of this house when he could have done many worse things with that plane," he said.

Both victims were continuing to recover at Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis.

Follow Drew Smith on Twitter: @drewsmith1

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