Heroic Airman Helps Victims of Deck Collapse

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Samantha M. Massey

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Samantha M. Massey, an aerospace ground equipment Airman with the 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, poses for a portrait in front on an F-16C Fighting Falcon at the Air Dominance Center in Savannah, Georgia, March 20, 2018. Massey assisted in rescuing individuals from a structural collapse in downtown Savannah on March 17, 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Cristina J. Allen)

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA -- An Airman with the 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, assisted in rescuing individuals from a structural collapse at approximately 4:30 p.m. at the Rogue Water Tap House in Savannah, Georgia, March 17, 2018.

Senior Airman Samantha M. Massey, an aerospace ground equipment specialist with the 177th FW in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, entered Rogue Water after a deck collapsed to try to help individuals who were injured.

“Because I’m short I was able to get back into the building where it happened,” said Massey, a 24-year-old raised in Paramus, New Jersey. “I started helping people up and getting them outside. I just kept going in and out.”

According to online reports from local news sources, patrons on the upper deck at the downtown Savannah bar fell 12 feet onto the seating area below injuring a total of 14 people, two of which were critically injured as the collapsed deck structure fell onto them.

“As I came down the stairs, I looked back and there were a bunch of people screaming,” said Massey. “There was mud and blood everywhere and there were people with serious injuries.”

Two other Airmen from the 177th FW Security Forces Squadron, Senior Airmen Abdiel A. Rivera and Jonathon T. Kaminsky, were with Massey before the incident happened.

“We were ushered out by the security guard and were worried about Massey,” said Rivera. “She was able to get back into the building and help.”

Massey entered an unpredictable situation and was able to help multiple individuals get out of a potentially dangerous environment.

“I helped carry a really tall man out because his leg was in really bad shape and another man had a really bad head injury so I took off one of my shirts and held it on his head to help stop the bleeding,” said Massey. “I told them ‘I am an Airman from the 177th Fighter Wing and I want to help you.’”

Rivera and Kaminsky waited to make sure Massey was safe.

“I’m really grateful that I ran into the security forces guys,” said Massey. “It finally hit me later and I was pretty upset. They found ice from a street vendor and water to wash the blood off of my face.”

Rivera and Kaminsky helped to calm Massey down and transported her to a safe location where she was checked for injuries and found to be O.K.

“She’s not afraid of anything,” said Rivera. “She really cares about people…an overall good person.”