WINDSOR-LOCKS, Conn. (WPRI) — When the B-17 vintage plane went down at Bradley International Airport on Wednesday, heroes began rising from the ashes almost immediately.
Former East Providence firefighter James Traficante was a passenger on the plane. He survived the crash and reportedly used flame-resistant gloves to open a hatch at the back of the plane to let people out.
Nearby the wreckage was a group of construction workers doing a job at the airport. Robert Bullock of Winsted, Conn. was among them.
“I heard a big bang, felt the heat, looked over and realized something bad happened,” Bullock said.
He too is a former firefighter. He says when he saw the crash and heard cries for help, he jumped a 10-foot, barbed wire fence to get to the victims.
“I applied a tourniquet on one of the patients. I noticed two other people on the ground and I went over and stayed with them until fire and EMS showed up,” Bullock said.
Fourteen people became victims of the crash when the engines failed and the plane came careening to the ground shortly after takeoff Wednesday.
Of the 13 people on the plane, seven survived. One person on the ground was among the injured as well.
Bullock’s not sure if his quick thinking prevented the carnage from being worse, but says he was happy he could help.
“I mean if I had to do it again, I’d do it in a heartbeat”, Bullock said.
Bullock doesn’t hail himself a hero, but believes he was in the right place at the right time.