Heroism And Tragedy at SFO
Cunningham said he was just finishing a patrol of an unoccupied airport building when he heard a fellow officer calmly report over the radio that a Boeing 777 had crashed. Cunningham said he screamed at the driver of an ambulance that happened to be nearby to follow him onto the runway where he could see the smoking wreckage.
When he arrived, he and another officer tossed their sheathed knives up to crew members yelling from the door that they needed to cut passengers from their seatbelts. Just then, the officers noticed jet fuel spewing from one of the wings “like it was coming out of a fire hose.”
That’s when Cunningham and police Lt. Gaetano Caltagirone made the decision to enter the burning plane through the back of the aircraft, which had a large opening since the tail had broken off.
The two helped clear debris out of the way and helped carry passengers off the burning plane. Cunningham even recovered two iPhones, figuring that “worried loved ones” would be trying to contact their owners.