Video: UPS driver pulls man from burning semi
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Frankie Ruybal has been a driver for UPS for 26 years. He was driving his UPS truck along U.S. 550 when he saw smoke on the side of the road Friday.
"I thought it was a brush fire, maybe some kids started a bush on fire, so I pulled over," Ruybal said. "I have a fire extinguisher, I was like, I’ll put it out if I can. If I can’t, I’ll call somebody. As I was walking – it was a ravine – and as I walk into the ravine, I notice there was a whole semi in the ravine."
There was a semi – on fire – crashed in the ditch. That’s when Ruybal jumped into action.
"I didn’t really think too much about it, I just went down and I did notice a man halfway ejected out of the rig," he said. "So I pulled him down from what was left of the motor compartment area and dragged him to the side of the cab."
At first, he wasn’t sure if the man was still alive.
"I heard him gasp, so I was like, ‘oh my gosh, this guy is alive still,’ so I looked up the hill and there were a few guys there, so I said, ‘hey, this guy is alive, give me a hand!’" Ruybal said.
Other bystanders and Jemez police officers followed Ruybal’s directions and they were able to get the man up to the road. Bystanders are calling Ruybal a hero.
"He got on top of a burning vehicle and pulled a guy out, it doesn’t get any more heroic than that to me," said David Brenner.
But Ruybal said he was just doing what anyone would do. He said moments like make you really appreciate those around you.
"It’s life! At any turn, it could be a life or death situation," Ruybal said. "So I’m going to go pick up my son. I’m going to appreciate hanging out with him."
New Mexico State Police confirmed a 77-year-old man was rescued from the passenger side of the truck and airlifted to an area hospital. Unfortunately, the driver of the semi died on impact.
Authorities said the cause of the crash is still unknown. Alcohol does not appear to have been a factor and seatbelts appear to have been properly used. The driver will not be identified until after his family has been properly notified.