Nightly News | August 17, 2012
>>> an associated press photographer on his way to cover a story in mississippi found himself in the middle of one yesterday when a fiery car accident left a woman trapped and facing death. that's when nearly two dozen total strangers pitched in to save her. here's nbc's mark potter .
>> reporter: moments after an suv careened out of control, struck a tree, and caught fire in a highway median strip, 15 to 20 fellow motorists stopped their cars and rushed to help. the driver suffered severe head injuries. but an associated press photographer arrived on the scene and found her trapped behind a wheel begging for help.
>> that was one of the most horrible feelings in my life to walk up there -- run up there and see her pinned and to hear her screams as the flames were getting bigger, her screams for help.
>> reporter: herbert and others flagged down other cars and trucks looking for fire extinguishers . navy petty officer melissa estes arrived and found another person in the car, the driver's handicapped sister, and pulled her from the back seat injuring herself in the group rescue effort.
>> complete strangers just came together to achieve a common goal to help somebody out that they don't even know.
>> reporter: as the rescuers worked feverishly to save the driver from the flames, unexpected relief finally arrived -- a big cement truck with a hose and lots of water.
>> the cement mixer was critical because he was the first one to get water on her to keep the flames off of her. and that was her guardian angel .
>> reporter: when firefighters arrived, the driver was finally extracted and flown to a hospital. pictures and video were then taken by the ap photographer, who waited until a rescue was guaranteed to take out his cameras, to record the heroics of strangers. mark potter , nbc news, miami.