Pilot’s wife thanks brave men for trying to save her husband

(Provided Photo/Angie Gilliland) Picture of Bill Gilliland and his family.

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – The family of the pilot who died after his plane crashed in Greenwood Friday released a statement of thanks and bravery of those who responded the crash.

According to police the plane lost power on take-off from Greenwood. Witnesses, including Greenwood Municipal Airport employees, noticed when William Michael Gilliland took off that the plane was smoking and wasn’t sounding right.

After impact, it caught on fire, but two men on the ground sprung into action. They pulled the co-pilot from the plane with the help of a first-responder.

Gilliland’s wife Angie said in a release, “the many acts of heroism that surround the rescue of his co-pilot and attempted rescue of Bill were all sacrificial in nature and mere words cannot express the gratitude our family feels for your actions.”

The co-pilot was identified as Michael Joseph Elliot of Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Neighbors in Greenwood where the plane crashed are calling the pilot a hero for saving their lives by avoiding crashing directly into their homes. However Gilliland’s wife said those brave men are the heroes in this situation.

Those special people know who they are. They are the ones who so fearlessly dropped everything and rushed into the face of danger to try to rescue two men. Our family and our community are blessed by your bravery. Thank you for your heroic deeds and the high value you placed on not one, but two human lives. Our prayers remain with the Elliot family.

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