VIRGINIA

Gus Hertz saves two in Florida while on vacation

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It started as a simple family vacation in St. Petersburg, Fla.

But that all changed when Roanoke, Va. resident Gus Hertz's wife looked out the window of their condo and saw that a driver had gone off the road, down a hill and into the water under this bridge.

"She yells there's a car in the water, so I ran out the door, she called 911," Gus Hertz says.

The driver, who'd had a diabetic episode, was unconscious but breathing.

Hertz and a local fisherman pulled him out.

An eyewitness says after another three or four minutes, the driver would have drowned.

The very next morning, as Hertz was fishing, he looked up and saw a small, ultralight plane crashing into the water.

"It started to descend and about 500 yards away I saw a huge splash, and it flipped over, and I thought oh my gosh, here I go again,” Hertz says.

Again, he jumped into action.

He dragged the pilot and his female passenger, who had more serious injuries, onto his boat.

Family members of the victims were extremely grateful.

The pilot’s daughter, Juanita Baker, was grateful.

“He always seems to be in the right place at the right time,” Baker says.

The local fire chief was thankful too.

"When you have citizens that are willing to step up while they're waiting for us to get there and risk whatever it takes and make a difference, it does help us tremendously," says chief James D. Large, fire chief of St. Petersburg.

But Hertz adamantly refuses to be called a hero.

"I did what anybody else would do, there was nothing spectacular about it, except it happened twice in a row," he says.

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