Burton Fire captain hailed hero for aiding plane passenger in distress


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)  – An off-duty Burton Fire Captain turned hero last week after preventing an emergency plane landing. 

Capt. Bobby Davidson was flying home from vacation when he noticed a nearby passenger in distress. 

“For an hour and a half, she repeated the statement, ‘I can’t do this, I’ve got to get off, this has got to stop,'” Davidson said. “And it’s an unfortunate event that happens throughout the military service and throughout the fire service.” 

The passenger was a young woman and Marine Corps veteran. Her emotions resulted in growing concern she drew from airline stewardesses, passengers and her crippling fear of flying.

Davidson, an Air Force veteran and a member of the Lowcountry Firefighter Assistance Support Team (F.A.S.T.), is trained to help firefighters cope with tragedy and PTSD.

Davidson tells WSAV NOW, “PTSD, anxiety and mental health is an issue across the first responders world and the military world.”

An ongoing issue with a heavy emotional toll that comes with it. 

“A lot of what we do, you manage to put away, but some of it just won’t. It fills up and everybody’s different, the load you can carry is different,” said Davidson.

“I didn’t say everything right,” he added. “I tried to give her what I could and what I would want someone to do for me.”

Burton Fire Captain Bobby Davidson

Appearing emotionally shaken up at one point during our interview, Davidson said: “I believe it’s in all of us to do well for each other, if for nothing else, and I don’t think you can sit next to anybody struggling and to be able to ignore it not with what we’re built with.”

With great risk, there is great reward. American Airlines sent Davidson a letter of appreciation and awarded him 15,000 bonus miles.

“American Airlines was very nice in the way they treated us,” he said.

With the aid of Davidson, the young woman made it through the flight. Once landing at their final destination, she was escorted off the plane for additional help. 

“She seemed to be very much a warrior; she was all in,” he said. “If you can picture what a Marine would look like, she was it.”

Captain Davidson said he was just trying to do what he would want done for him.

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