George Campbell, who’s been working out of town for a fishing lodge near King Salmon, two weeks ago helped rescue victims of a plane crash at a remote mountain lake in the Bristol Bay area.

Campbell was waiting for some of his passengers to return to the plane after a day of fishing when he saw a plane from a different fishing lodge take off from the lake.

“The airplane went to take off and he didn’t have any luck taking off,” Campbell said. “It hit the bank on the far end of the lake and flipped over.”

One of the fishing guides Campbell piloted, Sloan Ruhl, happened to be an emergency medical technician. Sloan also happened to be guiding his father, Jonathan Ruhl, who also volunteered for their hometown ambulance service, the Ho-Ho-Kus Volunteer Ambulance Corp in New Jersey. Both had experience treating trauma victims. Campbell taxied the plane across the lake to the scene of the crash with the pair.

“They headed for the crash. I secured my airplane and grabbed my first aid kit and things I thought might help,” Campbell said. “I let them know that I’m not the best with blood and if they needed me, they could count me in but otherwise I’m not going in.”

Campbell looked after uninjured passengers who were able to exit the plane. One passenger, a 75-year-old man, suffered a head injury and remained inside the toppled aircraft. “It was very fortunate we had qualified and experienced EMTs on our trip. They brought him back a couple of times when he was floating in and out with shock.”

Campbell radioed in help from other lodges and state responders. He transported the uninjured crash victims back to town. Airplanes from at least four different lodges arrived to help and eight responders helped carry the injured man to the plane that flew him to town. The man quickly recovered from his wounds, Campbell said.

“The guy had surgery and he flew back to King Salmon two days later to finish his fishing trip,” he said.

Jonathan Ruhl said his son and Campbell helped keep the man alive.

“Sloan and George were the heroes of the day to say the least,” Jonathan Ruhl said. “There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind the presence of George and Sloan saved this gentleman’s life.”

Campbell noted that competing companies quickly came together to help people in need, which reminded him of home. “We can bicker all (the time) but boy if someone needs help the whole town jumps together and says, ‘Okay, what do you need?’ That’s what it was like that day with airplanes flying all over the sky coming in and offering help.”