Johnson, 16, is a volunteer fire fighter in Mint Hill and a rising junior at Independence High School. He volunteers about 80-100 hours a month and intends to make firefighting his career.
“We were riding in from fishing, coming into port, and we saw the helicopter acting funny,” said Johnson. That’s when it crashed into the ocean. “Thirty more seconds and it would have been on top of us.”
Johnson pulled the passenger out of the water onto the boat.
The Oak Island Police Department report states that the helicopter crashed into the ocean at 4:37 pm about 500 yards southwest of the Oak Island pier. Multiple police, fire, and EMS units arrived on the scene.
Numerous witnesses watched the low-flying helicopter hit the ocean at a fast speed. After the hard impact, the aircraft was upside down. Peloza, Brooks, and Johnson tied off their boat onto the helicopter. Within moments the pilot popped up and told them the passenger could not take off her seatbelt. Before the men had time to find a knife and jump in, she made it to the surface. Johnson pulled her out, and water rescue personnel arrived to transport the two survivors to an awaiting ambulance.