A former first responder managed to help save three people from the wreckage of a deadly plane crash on a highway in Naples, Florida.
“I didn’t immediately put together that it was the very low-flying aircraft that I had seen just very few seconds prior,” Sheri Rapisarda, a former Collier County paramedic, told Fox 4 Now.
“I just knew that the plane had the ability to explode, and I just wanted to get them in my car and get them away from the area as fast as possible,” Rapisarda explained. “I just relied on my training and my instinct to kick in at that moment, and it did. It just did. I just acted. I don’t really recall thinking. I just acted.”
A Bombardier Challenger 600 business jet carrying five people took off from Ohio State University Friday around 1 p.m. EST, then experienced a rare twin-engine failure and crashed on Interstate 75 just after 3 p.m. EST.
In audio released after the crash, one of the pilots reports that both engines failed and that he would try to make an emergency landing after stressing the plane would not reach the runway at Naples Airport. The plane plunged 1,800 feet in the last minute of its descent, the Naples Daily News reported.
The plane struck an SUV and a truck during its landing, but the drivers and passengers of the vehicles survived.
Edward Daniel Murphy, 50, and Ian Frederick Hofmann, 65, the pilot and co-pilot, died in the crash. Crew member Sydney Ann Bosmans, 23, and passengers Aaron Baker, 35, and Audra Green, 23, survived thanks to Rapisarda’s quick thinking and efforts.
No one on the ground was killed. The survivors where transported to a local hospital after the crash, their conditions unknown.
Rapisarda praised the pilots and Bosmans as the real heroes who made sure that the passengers survived.
“I just happened to be driving by, and I was just able to be the little calmness that everyone needed once they got out and was just a little voice of reason just to say, ‘Hey, come to me,’” she explained.
The crash forced a closure of all lanes in both directions of the highway. The Florida Highway Patrol and sheriff’s office urged drivers to avoid the area while emergency crews responded.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it would move the plane to an undisclosed, secure facility to examine the craft as part of a thorough investigation into what went wrong in the final moments before the crash.
The plane’s black box and cockpit recordings went to NTSB agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., for separate analysis.
Fox News Digital’s Brie Stimson contributed to this report.