By Kate Raddatz

BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) — Police say two good Samaritans helped keep a pilot alive after his plane crashed at a Twin Cities airport.

It happened just after 11 this morning at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport.

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The 65-year-old pilot was taken to Hennepin Healthcare, but apparently there were two passersby near the airport at the time the crash happened and rushed to help.

Seeing the broken pieces of a vintage 1955 aircraft, it’s hard to believe the man flying it is likely to survive.

“We’re grateful that hopefully the pilot will recover,” said Blaine Police Chief Brian Podany. “There were serious injuries, but it certainly could have had a much worse outcome.”

Authorities say the pilot, a 65-year-old man from Ham Lake, has more than 20 years of flying experience.

He was coming in to land the T-28B Trojan airplane when the crash occurred.

Police say two strangers helped the man while the plane was still on fire before firefighters arrived.

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“They saw that it was occurring and actually jumped the fence and ran out to where the wreckage was,” Podany said.

Firefighters were able to put out the fire before the man was airlifted to the hospital.

The agencies that responded say they were able to coordinate efforts quickly thanks to recent training.

“Especially with the Super Bowl we had last year, this airport was very busy, so we really ramped up our training and our communication between all the agencies to prepare for this type of incident,” said Charlie Smith, fire chief for Spring Lake Park, Blaine and Moundsview.

Hennepin Healthcare said the pilot is currently in critical condition.

There are close to 75,000 flights that take off and land every year at the airport, and authorities said they could not remember a crash in several years.

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Kate Raddatz