Truck driver saved from burning rig by samaritans in Council Blufffs


October 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Russian immigrant to the U-S who lives in Washington State and works as a truck driver, is grateful to be alive after he was pulled from the cab of the burning semi he’d been driving, which crashed on the west side of Council Bluffs, Sunday morning. Pavel Plevako somehow lost control of the semi on Interstate 29 at around 9:15-a.m., between Avenue G and the 35th Street exit.

Bob and Pat Tallant, of Omaha, told the Omaha World-Herald the couple was traveling to a friend’s house when they saw the semi pull onto the interstate, miss the traffic lane and run into a bridge. The impact tore the cab away from the trailer, causing the cab to land on the driver’s side. The couple said they pulled over to help, along with another driver who was behind them.

As Plevako was trapped in the rig, the trailer caught fire, and the flames began to spread to the cab.  Using a large crowbar, Tallant, and the other, unidentified motorist pried open the passenger side door of the cab,while a third, unidentified person reached-in to pull the driver out. Two young women, one of whom was reportedly a medical student, also stopped to help and treat Plevako, who suffered only minor injuries.

The tractor and trailer were soon fully engulfed in flames, which erupted due to ruptured fuel tanks and were spread by burning crates of produce being hauled in the trailer.  The burning diesal fuel created large, black clouds of smoke, according to witnesses. The accident remains under investigation.

Plevako told reporters in broken English, that he was very grateful to those who stopped and helped him.