Man speaks about his brave actions to save passenger of plane crash

(WISH Photo/Chopper 8)

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – For the first time on Wednesday night the man first on the scene to a fatal airplane crash in Greenwood spoke with 24-Hour News 8.

Stan Breeden said the event has changed his life forever after he bravely helped pull the passenger out of a fiery plane crash on July 11 in Greenwood.

“You go through your life, wondering if things would happen what would you do,” said Breeden?

That question was answered on that sunny Friday afternoon when Breeden was driving and saw a plane overhead. Something that was not unusual to see in Greenwood. However, within minutes he witnessed the plane take a sharp dive, hitting two houses before catching fire.

“Last thing I remember before I put the car in park was the tail flipping up and I remember seeing the fire and smoke and then of course it went down and that’s all I saw until the next thing I knew I was right there in the middle of it,” says Breeden.

With the help of two other people passing by, Breeden pulled the passenger out of the fiery wreckage to safety.

“Flipped him over and that’s when he kind of made some sounds so we knew he was going to be, well, we knew he was alive,” Breeden said.

But the same wasn’t true for the pilot, 46-year old William Michael Gilliland of Greenwood.

“There was just nothing we could do. I mean we really tried but there was just nothing we could do for him. “I think about him every day,” says Breeden.

A life lost, a life saved, and for Breeden, a confidence in him was found.

That question that used to nag him, what would he do? He now knows, he wouldn’t think twice.

“And so at least in my heart, I did the right thing. That makes me feel really good,” says Breeden.

Breeden was able to visit the man he saved, Michael Elliot, at the hospital. He said the doctors told him he’s expected to heal from all his injuries.

Breeden said that reunion made his healing process, much easier. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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