Caught on tape: Motorcyclist rescued from fiery crash

8:22 AM, Sep 13, 2011   |    comments
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LOGAN, Utah -- In comic books, superheroes are often depicted as lone wolves, but in a horrifying car-motorcycle crash in Logan, Utah on Monday, heroes came in bunches.

Looking like a cross section of America - hard-hat construction workers, a businessman, a woman in skirt and sandals and a man dressed for leisure in t-shirt and shorts - an ad-hoc rescue team assembled in seconds to free 21-year-old Brandon Wright as he lay trapped beneath a burning BMW on a city street.

Incredibly clear video of the rescue was captured by an office worker in a nearby building, and aired in a TODAY report Tuesday by Miguel Almaguer.

Logan's assistant chief of police Jeff Curtis says the department is now trying to find out just who these rescuers were, and told NBC News their efforts, at their own considerable peril, likely saved Wright's life.

"They're rescuers; they did a great job of getting him the help that he needed," Curtis said. "I'm impressed they would risk their own safety to lift the car up and get the individual out from underneath it."

According to a report from KTVX-TV in Salt Lake City, Wright was riding his motorcycle on U.S. Highway 89 near the Utah State University campus Monday morning when a black BMW pulled out of a parking lot in front of him. Wright intentionally grounded his cycle to avoid getting hit - but his bike went up in flames and he slid underneath the auto, which was also on fire.

At first, a construction worker appears in the video, trying to lift the rear end of the BMW on his own. Within seconds, he's joined by four others, who try in vain to lift the two-ton car. Suddenly, other on-the-spot rescuers enter the picture, and with a dozen folks pitching in, they manage to raise the car while a construction worker drags Wright's motionless body out from the wreckage.

Anvar Suyundikov, one of the citizen rescuers identified at the scene, told NBC News the improvised rescue team felt the heat as they lifted the car while flames danced near them.

"It was very hot, hot and kind of dangerous," he Suyundikov said. "I thought (the car) was close to (exploding)."

It was Wright's good fortune the accident occurred just 50 yards from a construction site on the USU campus - not only did students hear the impact, but construction workers also dropped what they were doing and rushed to the scene.

Wright was airlifted to Intermountain Medical Center, and though he's listed in critical condition, his family told police he was stable. The driver of the BMW escaped serious injury.

The police department's Curtis told CNN he hopes to identify the rescuers so they can be acknowledged at a Logan City Council meeting, saying the rescue was "a life- saving move that the Logan Police Department does not want to go unnoticed."

Following Almaguer's report, TODAY's Matt Lauer said, "We use the word hero too often; not in this particular case."

(Copyright 2011 by MSNBC. All Rights Reserved.)

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