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VIDEO: Pilot uninjured after small plane crash at St. Pete airport

Hero describes saving the pilot and averting disaster
Pilot uninjured after small plane crash at St. Pete airport
Pilot uninjured after small plane crash at PIE, authorities investigating
Posted at 4:09 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 23:22:24-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A dual-engine propeller plane ended up off the runway Monday afternoon at St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport. The pilot of the twin-engine Cessna was uninjured in the crash and walked away from the plane safely.

The crash happened around 2:45 p.m. when the plane's brakes failed upon landing. The plane then ran off the end of the runway and came to a stop on airport property by Stoneybrook Drive N, St. Pete-Clearwater officials said.

EXCLUSIVE: Hero who saved pilot describes the crash

Russell Deberry was driving by when the plane came to a stop. He told ABC Action News that he ran to a nearby CVS to get a fire extinguisher because there was a fire underneath the plane. Deberry said he was worried the fire could get worse with the fuel spilled out.

"It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, Deberry said. "I had to make a decision if I was going to die...but I wasn’t going to watch the man burn alive."

Deberry said he and others helped the pilot out through the back of the plane. According to Deberry, the pilot was hugging and thanking those that came to help. Deberry said he was happy God put him at the scene to help the pilot.

The airfield was closed for a while but reopened to all traffic around 5:30 p.m.