This veterans day, a group of Air Force cadets found themselves in a position to save a life, to save several lives, after witnessing one family filled car shoot off the edge of Highway 9.
As they describe it, they were heading home around 6:30 in the evening after a day of skiing on the Breckenridge slopes.
The roads were slick and they were taking their time. Ahead of them was a car that they saw beginning to fishtail and then go perpendicular to the highway.
After that point the cadets agreed that it, “Shot off the ledge.”
Within 10 seconds the group of 5 cadets stopped the car, called 9-1-1 and scrambled down the nearly 100-foot steep embankment.
They opened up the car, breaking windows where necessary, and helped the trapped family of 3, who appeared to only have minor injuries, to safety.
It’s a feat they say they were better able to accomplish because of their training in teamwork they had received at the Academy.
“Just having everyone work on different things at different times, to explore the different doors and just the different ways of getting the family out of the car… and then having multiple people on the situation and helping people up the cliff really helped the efficiency of the process,” stated Connor Settle, cadet 3rd class.
“I hope that they felt comforted, definitely in a time of great stress,” commented Joel Krause, also C3C.
“We’re just glad they weren’t injured,” finished Settle.
Once the family was safe and sound, the cadets provided extra jackets and EMS arrived on the scene soon after.
Emergency services took charge of caring for the family and the cadets got in the car to continue their journey home.
Before anything else, immediately after getting into the car, they stopped for a prayer, thankful that everyone got out safe.
The trip home, they say, was at an even slower and safer pace than it had been prior to the incident.
PRESS RELEASE FROM USAFA:
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Air Force Academy cadets helped a family Nov. 11 after their car slid off Highway 9 south of Breckenridge and tumbled downhill.
Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin, the Academy’s commandant of cadets, praised their efforts in front of the cadet wing, Nov. 15.
“Their actions speak to the caliber of cadets at the Academy and how the training they receive is as relevant to our Front Range community as it in in combat zones,” she said.
Cadets 3rd Class Karl Boerwinkle, Antonino Del Rossa, Joseph Canoy, Joel Krause and Conner Settle, watched the car traveling in front of them car lose traction and plummet off the highway.
Krause dialed 911 while the other cadets moved downhill. The cadets could hear the man in the driver’s seat honking the car’s horn, Canoy said.
“When we saw the car, I was pretty nervous about their safety,” he said.
After helping the family out of the car, the cadets covered them with their jackets and helped them up to the road.
“We knew they needed help and there was no one else on the road,” Del Rossa said.
The cadets said the family appeared to suffer only minor injuries, according to the county first responders who arrived after Krause reported the crash.