Plane crash hero Shawn Nagurny of Chilliwack was greeted warmly at city hall Tuesday.
A certificate of appreciation was presented to him by Mayor Sharon Gaetz for Nagurny’s heroic actions after an airplane crashed outside his office building in Richmond last October.
“We all have heroes in present day life. Sometimes we have heroes who sacrifice life and limb to help other people,” Gaetz said.
Nagurny fit the bill, she said. He was one of several passersby and rescuers who entered the burning plane wreck to help trapped passengers escape.
“Shawn witnessed the crash and knew he had a choice to make,” said Gaetz.
He didn’t think twice before heading to the scene, and braved the flames and smoke to see if he could help.
“I’m here to say thank you on behalf of a proud community,” the mayor told Nagurny, adding that any “pleasurable moments” experienced by survivors would be directly attributable to the considerable efforts of the rescuers.
Nagurny described the whole experience as “devastating,” and spoke in a quiet voice about the day the plane crashed.
“It was just good to see so many people helping out,” he said about his fellow Good Samaritans. “That gave me a whole new outlook on things.”
Barbara Boehmer, the grandmother of co-pilot Matthew Robic – who later died of his injuries after surviving three weeks – was in council chambers to meet Nagurny.
Boehmer said she found out by reading The Progress that Nagurny was to be honoured; she was surprised the family had not been notified.
“I just wanted to say thank you on behalf of our families as well,” said Boehmer when she met Nagurny.
Both the pilot and co-pilot survived the crash but later succumbed to their injuries.
All seven passengers in the small, twin-engine plane survived.