Nightly News | July 08, 2013
>>> survivors, thankfully, many of them. we also hear from the first responders tonight. that part of the story from john yang in san francisco .
>> reporter: when first responders arrived on the scene at runway 28 left, the threat was clear.
>> jet fuel leaking out of the plane, and our firefighters entered the plane, began a primary search and began to distinguish the fire.
>> christie emmonds ran up the eva evacuation chute and saw people trapped.
>> it was clear. not a lot of smoke, not a lot of fire, but by the time we removed the final victim, the fire was banking down on us, heavy black smoke .
>> reporter: police officer jim cunningham had no protective gear and still rushed in.
>> clearing the baggage, over head bins and all of the luggage, debris and rubble all over the place.
>> one of the last on the plane, a flight attendant attending to the remaining survivors.
>> get down, get down.
>> reporter: the first responders managed to get few stranded on board to safety. only a few, tharngs to passengers like ben levy who saw rescuers arrive as he helped other people escape.
>> i told people we're okay, come down, start getting out. leave your things behind, help each other, quickly. a lot of people started going out through the door.
>> reporter: today in china the distraught families of the two 16-year-old girls killed in the crash left shanghai for the united states . while in korea, survivors of the crash returned home to begin long and painful recoveries. in san francisco , the focus on men and women who answered the call to duty.
>> only calvary that was there. no one else coming right away. whatever we could do, we had to do it.
>> reporter: risking so much to help so many survive. john yang , nbc news, san francisco .