DC-3 Crash Survival - A Miracle!
The skin on the right side of the aircraft's cockpit was torn lose and
Holder later reported looking outside and seeing flames.
couldn't get free, his seat belt was stuck, so Buddy reached over
and began helping him as the cockpit began to fill with smoke.
"Ron later told me
that he looked outside and realized it was blazing. He thought
he would be burned alive."
Davis said he also
saw the fire coming down over his head when he began to rise from
the floor behind the two pilots.
When Roberts finally
freed Holder, the two men rose to find an exit.
"Ron thought they'd
turn around and find me dead and was surprised to see me still
alive. He'd been cut up pretty good and his face was covered
"I guess we were both kind of surprised by what we saw and paused
to look at one another.
Buddy was the captain and he took
charge yelling,Fire! Get out!
We started running
down the cabin trying to find an escape. I saw the cargo door
was twisted and that there was not way to open it but behind it
there was a smaller door."
Davis saw the
smaller door standing wide open "as if someone had raised it and was
holding it open for us."
"When we got to the
door we didn't have to slow down and just ran through it. Ron
was behind me and Buddy was right behind him.
"Buddy later said
the fire was chasing us down the cabin as we ran. In fact, it
singed the back of Buddy's hair," Davis said.
The three men ran as
fast as they could away from the burning DC-3, falling in to a
"We all knew it
would explode. It had just been filled with 800 gallons of
gasoline, plus it had quite a bit of oil and hydraulic fluid."
Later, Davis learned
from an aircraft mechanic that having a full gasoline tanks may have
helped save their lives. He noted that had the tanks been
partially empty, they also would have contained fuel vapor which
probably would have exploded on impact.
"Because the tanks
were full, there was no vapor to immediately ignite and that
probably gave us the few seconds we needed to get clear," he
that day was a miracle. Had we been forced to stop and open an
emergency door to get out, we probably would not have escaped the
flames and almost certainly would have been caught in the
"Had we flown a
while longer before the crash, the gasoline vapor that would have
been in the fuel tanks probably would have exploded on impact and we
wouldn't have been able to even try to escape," Davis said.
"The Lord was
looking out for us. There is no other explanation," he