Nova Scotia

'Angel' who pulled teens from car wreckage says he's no superhero

Richard Kirk is being called a hero and angel, but he says he was just 'happy to help.'

33-year-old carpenter saved couple after their car flipped upside down in ditch

Richard Kirk says he's no hero for saving a couple who had crashed their car into a ditch on Friday. He says he was just doing what anyone else would have done. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

The stranger who pulled two teenagers from a car crash near Kentville, N.S., says he was just doing what anyone else would have done.

"It's not like I'm a superhero or nothing," Richard Kirk told CBC News. "I'm just happy they're alright."

Kirk was driving home from work on Friday evening in windy and icy conditions when he noticed a car flipped upside down in a drainage ditch.

He immediately jumped to action, calling 911 before wading into the icy cold water. Kirk pried open the vehicle's back door and pulled the couple out as the car filled with water.

In all the confusion, Alex Pineo and his girlfriend Cassidy Jones didn't know it was Kirk that saved them. The day after the accident, the Wolfville couple put the call out on Facebook hoping to track him down and thank him.

Alex Pineo and Cassidy Jones were trapped in their car after it hit ice and flipped over in a ditch. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

The two managed to speak with Kirk on Monday and offer their thanks.

'Get us out! There's water.'

Kirk told CBC News he wasn't sure if there was anyone in the car when he pulled his truck over to help.

"I didn't know if I could hear somebody or not. I thought it might be the wind howling," he said.

He ran up and hollered, asking if anyone was inside. That's when the couple screamed back.

Kirk says this is the ditch where he spotted the overturned car on Friday. (Craig Paisley/CBC )

"They were saying, 'Help, help, help! Get us out. There's water around here.'"

Kirk said he could see the water already covering the front windshield and windows.

He looked around to find something he could use to pry the back door of the car open, but finding nothing in the empty field, he jumped into the water.

"I put my feet against the bank, and my back against the car, and rocked the car enough that I could get the driver's side rear door open," he said.

"Obviously adrenaline takes over. Your body is going to do whatever it takes."

'I wouldn't be able to just drive by.'

Kirk said he couldn't imagine driving by and not stopping to help.

"It would weigh pretty heavy on your head if you heard someone was injured or died in a car accident just because you drove by," he said.

Alex Pineo put the call out on Facebook for help finding the man who rescued him and his girlfriend. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

Kirk, who is a father of three young kids, says he hopes someone would do the same for his children in a similar situation.

Late for dinner

Kirk said he left the scene once the ambulances arrived, heading home with only cold feet.

"A little bit of cold feet ain't nothing. Socks were wet," he laughed.

He also had to explain to his wife why he was late for dinner.

"I said, I'm sorry I was late. I pulled two people out of a car upside down in a ditch. And she instantly dropped the ladle of chilli she had, and she looked at me and she said, 'You did what?' "

"So I told her the story of what happened. And she said. 'Huh! You're a hero.' Well, I guess you could call it that. I'm just happy they're alright. Happy to help."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marina von Stackelberg is a CBC journalist based in Winnipeg. She previously worked for CBC in Halifax and Sudbury. Connect with her @CBCMarina or marina.von.stackelberg@cbc.ca

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