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'Good Samaritans' helped pull lone survivor of Louisiana plane crash from flames

Posted at 9:06 AM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 12:13:31-05

LAFAYETTE, La. — Moments after a plane crashed in Lafayette Saturday morning, several bystanders rushed in to help.

Among them was Brandon Chevalier. Just before 9:30 a.m. local time, he heard a crash as he was responding to a maintenance call at the nearby apartment complex where he works.

"When I hit the corner, I see the plane hit the pole and skid across the highway, and then I just heard a loud boom," Chevalier said. "So, when I ran across the street, the parking lot was pretty much on fire."

He first saw an SUV on fire, but the driver told Chevalier not to worry about him and to go help the people that were in the plane.

That's when Chevalier realized there was a survivor.

"Directly when the plane blew up, a man pretty much, about maybe 10 seconds later, stood up like he was waving, but he was about to fall back into the fire. So me and a few individuals ran and pulled him away from the plane."

That man was Wade Berzas.

According to Chevalier, once he and others pulled Berzas away from the flames, all he wanted to do was call his wife.

Berzas remains in critical condition at the hospital.

"I'm just happy he's alive," Chevalier said. "I never expected someone to survive that."

Chevalier doesn't consider himself a hero. He says he was just there to help.

"A lot more people lost their lives, and it's like that's what kind of haunts me," Chevalier said. "Like, maybe, can I do anything more to help?"

He is leaning on his faith, but he knows what happened Saturday will stay with him.

"I prayed to God. It's just my heart goes out to those families," Chevalier said. "It's just a mother, a son. Some lives got lost."

This story was originally published by Jordan Lippincott on KATC in Lafayette, Louisiana.