Crash Victim Rescued By Kingsley Air Traffic Controller

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, January 23 2014 at 4:36 PM, Updated: Fri, January 24 2014 at 2:36 AM

A Klamath County man is back home tonight after a crash put him in the hospital for 4 days...That man may owe his life to an air traffic controller from Kingsley Field.

John Crowe helps planes take off and land at Kingsley Field.

But early Sunday morning, Crowe came across a car that had gone down an embankment on Highway 58.

Crowe found 18 year old Mark Thompson seriously injured inside...

"I said, 'Are you okay?' He said he was fine.  I go, 'Well, let's walk out of here - c'mon.'  He goes, 'Well, I'm okay - I'm going to drive out of here in a couple minutes.'  And it's like, okay, you're in shock, buddy."

State Police say Crowe carefully pulled Thompson from the wreckage, then carried him up the hill to safety...most likely saving his life.

Co-workers say they're proud of Crowe's rescue effort.

"He tries to pass himself off as just an air traffic controller."  Says Air Traffic Manager Doug Cunningham.  "But he's been trained as a professional."

Crowe says he felt it was his responsibility to help in an emergency...

"There could be minutes, seconds left, where you can actually contribute, and help somebody out like that."

But then, Crowe is a specialist in helping other get home safely.

Police say that Thompson may have been in the wreckage for nearly 2 hours before Crowe came to his rescue.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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