Oklahoma pilot honored for Alaska rescue

Friday, June 20th 2008, 10:25 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

An Oklahoma native was honored for his role in saving at least 20 people off a sinking ship near Alaska.

The heroic pilot, Lt. Steven Bonn, is a good pilot, according to his father, Vernon Bonn. He said it's no surprise his 39-year-old son was able to lead a team of rescuers to a sinking vessel approximately 125 miles off the Alaska shore.

The pilot battled 30-knot winds, heavy snow squalls and a 24-degree wind chill, but was able to save 22 people who were drifting in the turbulent Bering Sea.

Vernon Bonn said his son doesn't talk much about his good doings, and until a magazine featured his story on its front cover, he didn't realize the magnitude of the rescue.

"As he related it, we didn't really realize how extreme this rescue was actually until we saw the video on Youtube and read the article in the magazine," Vernon Bonn said.

The Coast Guard presented Lt. Bonn with Air Medals.

"He doesn't brag about it. It's something he enjoys doing," Vernon Bonn said. "It's his job, he does it."

Lt. Bonn is being transferred to North Carolina. He said he hopes to find a job as a medical helicopter pilot after completing his service.