A local dentist is being considered a hero after he rescued a woman and child from Tuesday morning’s plane crash.
Lanny Kampfe, who maintains an endodontist practice at 1321 Sunset St., was working on a root canal on Lenni Kangas when a plane crashed across the street, skidding before coming to a stop in his building’s parking lot. The plane had just taken off from the Iowa City Airport en route to Decatur, Ala., to take a mother and her daughter home to Thomasville, Ga.
Kampfe, 61, said he heard what sounded like a tornado while working. He looked outside and saw “debris and grass blowing up the street.” He told his staff to call 911 and rushed out to help.
“I didn’t think about an explosion,” he said. “You just think about getting the people out of the plane.”
When he got to the plane, Kampfe said he saw the pilot, Martin Lewis of Bloomington, Ill., leaning unconscious in the cockpit. He also saw a woman, Christina Blanton of Thomasville, Ga., holding a girl. The girl was covered with blood, Kampfe said.
With the help of a nurse and a University of Iowa police officer who happened to be in the area when the crash occurred, Kampfe helped Blanton and pulled out the girl, who was unconscious without a pulse. He said he worked to revive her using CPR.
“Her face was covered with blood,” he said. “The child choked once and we continued with the CPR.”
The baby began to breathe after a second round of CPR, and the paramedics soon arrived.
Kampfe said he credited the nursing staff at Mercy Hospital with their CPR training program, conducted at area dental offices every year.
“Their enthusiasm in the process gave me the confidence (to do the procedure),” he said. “We just ask that God bless this family and that child.”
He said the baby’s grandfather later called him to say the baby was in stable condition at University Hospital.
Kangas, who had a temporary filling placed in his mouth when the appointment was interrupted, said Kampfe did the right thing in helping.
“The guy’s a hero,” Kangas said. “Very calm. Dr. Kampfe did a good job.”
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