U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. - Five Air Force Academy Cadets are being called heroes for saving a family trapped inside their car after they slid off the road and fell down a 100-foot ravine.
KRDO spoke to the cadets who are all Sophomores at the Academy and are on the same squadron. Cadet 3rd Class Antonino Del Rossa, Karl Broerwinkle, Connor Settle, Joel Krause, and Joseph Canoy were driving back from a ski trip in Breckenridge on a cold and snowy Veterans Day.
While on CO-9 just West of Fairplay, the car in front of them started fishtailing and took a sharp turn launching the car off the side of a ravine.
"The best way to describe it, it was there then it was gone," said Cadet Del Rossa.
Cadet Broerwinkle says he was sleeping when he woke up and saw what happened, "I saw them on the road for like half a second and then I saw them go airborne and disappear off the cliff."
The car fell about 80 feet before coming to a stop at the bottom. Cadet Settle says they were the only ones who saw it happen.
"We were the only ones out there at the time of the accident and if no one else had seen it, then they might have not helped so we felt like we had to take action," said Cadet Settle.
After the shock wore off from what they just witnessed, Cadet Krause says they realized somebody was in need below and that's when they stepped into action without any hesitation.
Krause stayed by the car and called 911 while the other four raced down the steep incline to get to the car.
"On our way down, the driver was honking the horn," said Cadet Canoy "They were stuck and couldn't get out." When they reached the bottom the car was completely flipped over.
Cadet Canoy said his adrenaline turned into fear once he saw the damage.
"Once we got down there and saw the car, that was the first time I felt scared because I didn't know what we would find when we opened the doors," Cadet Canoy said.
What they found was a man, a woman, and their teenaged daughter alive, but trapped inside the car. They were able to get the parents out but their child was still stuck.
Cadet Settle then picked up a rock and smashed the window open. They helped the family back up the ravine where an ambulance was waiting, never actually learning the names of the people they saved.
As for the cadets being called heroes, they say they were just doing what anyone else would do in that situation.
"I'm just glad we could be there in that moment for that family," said Cadet Del Rossa.