Larry Hicks to be shown on A&E

Published 4:46 pm Friday, August 6, 2010

For Larry Hicks, it’s hard to believe that there are others who still remember.

But, the recent recognition has a bitter sweetness to it.

As Hicks remembered Thursday under the bright lights of a television camera, the man that he rescued from a plane crash in a Troy lake in 2002 was listed in serious condition in a Wisconsin hospital, the victim of yet another plane crash.

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NASCAR team owner Jack Roush crashed a private plane in the lake at Palos Verde in Troy on April 19, 2002, and nearly drowned before being rescued by neighborhood resident Hicks, who is a retired United States Marine.

Years and many awards and recognitions later, Hicks thought all the hoopla surrounding the Roush rescue had been put to rest. But a researcher and interviewer with Cineflix in Toronto just happened to read the story of the Roush rescue in a faith magazine. The story captured Amelia Wasserman’s interest and she recognized it as a potential story for A&E’s “Urban Legends.”

“When I was contacted about doing a television interview and they said it was for ‘Urban Legends,’ I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” Hicks said, laughing. “Legend? No.”

Wasserman and a television crew were in Troy this week to film a segment of “Urban Legends” that will feature the Roush rescue with the story as told by Hicks.

“We will recreate what happened that day and the interview with Larry Hicks will be a part of the narration,” Wasserman said. “It’s a real story of faith.”

Wasserman’s interview with Hicks took him back, not just to the plane crash and rescue but also to his years with the U.S. Marines.

“How was it that you had the training and know-how to rescue a pilot from a plane submerged in eight feet of water?” she asked.

Hicks explained that, as a Marine, he was in full time telecommunications, but he also took advantage of an opportunity for Corps search and rescue training.

“Although I never had to use that training in the military, it prepared me for what happened 18 years later,” Hicks said.

“I had been trained to search for a pilot whose plane had gone down in water. Once I located the pilot, I knew where the seatbelt was and how to release it.”

Hicks said, when he released the seatbelt, the pilot floated into his arms.

“When we got to the surface, the pilot wasn’t breathing. I held on to the wing with one hand and gave him modified CPR with the other hand. On the fifth breath, he started breathing.”

Hicks said it was the Marine training that prepared him for the rescue situation.

“But I’m no hero,” he said.

“So many things just fell into place. God had His hand in it all. God saved Jack. I was just God’s instrument.”

Following the rescue, Hicks and Roush have become more than friends. They are family.

“My concern right now is for Jack,” Hicks said.

“The plane he was flying just snapped in two during the landing. But he walked out of the plane. You know, it’s strange but this crash was at 6:15 p.m. – and that’s the same time he went into the lake behind my house. I know because I was watching the news when I saw the plane hit the steel cable and go in the water. I pray that Jack comes back from this crash just as he did before. He’s a good friend and a great guy.”

The Roush/Hicks story will air on A&E in 2011 and will possibly also be shown on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.