Citizen Rescuers: AP Photographer Gerald Herbert On the Scene Recounts Burning SUV Rescue in Hancock County, Mississippi

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When a sport utility vehicle ran off a stretch of interstate and slammed into trees in Mississippi off of Interstate 10, nearly two dozen people rushed to help two sisters who were trapped inside the burning vehicle. Among the citizen rescuers at the Mississippi-Louisiana border was AP photographer Gerald Herbert.

A woman and her disabled sister were trapped in an SUV that left the roadway and crashed into some trees. The crash pinned the female driver in the vehicle, as flames threatened to take her life.

Citizen rescuers kept the fire at bay with a garden hose from a cement mixer and cases of bottled water. The photographer ran back to the roadway and organized at least six semi-trailer trucks up to the scene from the congested traffic. Gerald Herbert knew those trucks would have fire extinguishers. They were also used keep the flames at bay.

The disabled sister in the back seat was the first to be pulled out of the car. Her sister was still pinned in the car as citizens used a crow bar to get her out.

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