Safety

Man Who Assisted at 2016 Crash Scene To Receive Medal of Valor, Reports Say

By S.L. Fuller | July 3, 2017
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PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) passes the USS Arizona Memorial as the Nimitz class aircraft carrier arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationship that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (Photo by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak)

USS John C. Stennis passes the USS Arizona Memorial as the Nimitz class aircraft carrier arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for Rim of the Pacific 2016. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy

February 18, 2016, a Bell Helicopter 206B impacted water about 20 feet from the shoreline at Pearl Harbor. Local news outlets reported that Bryan Eisenberg, who was working in Hawaii with the National Park Service at the time, witnessed the crash and immediately took action. He is now set to receive the Presidential Medal of Valor in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

The NTSB’s preliminary report said that the Genesis Helicopters aircraft was giving a tour when the pilot reported hearing a loud “bang” and saw that the engine instruments showed decreasing rotor rpm. The pilot and two passengers were seriously injured. One passenger sustained minor injuries. One passenger — a teenager — was fatally injured. News reports said bystanders saw the helicopter descend into the water, Eisenberg among the group. The group was able to rescue the four survivors, but the teenager was trapped in the cabin. Reports said that Eisenberg and a Navy officer who was also on the scene took turns diving in attempt to cut the passenger out of his harness. He was pulled out of the cabin alive, but later succumbed to his injuries.

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The Presidential Medal of Valor is “awarded annually by the U.S. president or vice president to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance in the Dept. of Justice.

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