Family, Friends Remember Oklahoma Marine Who Saved Friend From Burning Plane
OKLAHOMA CITY - One of Oklahoma's finest is being hailed a hero after sacrificing his own life to save a friend's.
Austin Anderson, an Iraq war veteran and ORU graduate, was one of four people killed in a plane crash over the weekend in Kansas.
News 9 traveled to Austin's hometown of Ringwood, Oklahoma to talk with family a friends. After visiting the town, it is safe to say Ringwood has lost one of its favorite sons.
The lone survivor of the deadly plane crash can't stop thinking about Austin Anderson. With 90 percent of his body burnt, Anderson blocked flames and pulled Hannah Luce to safety. That selfless act cost Anderson his life.
"To us, it was Austin because we knew he had that strength," Anderson's mother Mary Anderson said.
To Mary and her two children, Anderson's death still seems like a horrible dream.
"In situations like these, I really have no clue what to do," Anderson's brother Aubrey Anderson said. "Austin … always [said], ‘don't worry bro' … I don't know what to do next."
Everyone along Ringwood's Main Street seemed to have already learned the news as of late Monday. The people of the town say Anderson was an inspiration.
"I wanted to be like him," Kenneth Baykin said. "He was a role model for the football team. I guarantee you that."
Anderson would return to Ringwood in the summer to help coach football. He was someone football players Kenneth Baykin and Brandon Folger looked up to. In fact, Anderson inspired Folger to join the military and a little boy to play the drums.
Family friend Jamie Adkisson says Anderson would take time to teach her young son the drums after church out of the goodness of his heart.
"[My son] really looked up to him," Adkisson said.
In 2000, Anderson's dad died in a car crash leaving Mary to raise three kids alone. Hit by tragedy twice, it is now a family of three trying hard to live up to Anderson's guidance.
"Who needs Superman … when we have a brother as our hero," Anderson's sister Allie Anderson said.
Anderson graduated from Oral Roberts University in May 2012. He was set to be married and had just accepted a job a Christian ministry shortly before he was killed.
Anderson's funeral will be Wednesday, May 16 at 2 p.m. at the Emanuel Baptist Church in Enid.