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Mon, Jan 16, 2006

'Hero' In 2004 Plane Accident Revealed To Be Fake

Took Credit For Rescue, As True Good Samaritan Stayed Quiet

We're not sure if Nigel Gallimore is a Dustin Hoffman fan, but this story reminds us a little too much of the plot of Hoffman's 1992 movie "Hero," in which a seemingly nice guy takes credit for rescuing victims of a plane crash -- except, as it turns out, that person had nothing to do with it, the true "hero" preferring to stay out of the spotlight.

Gallimore, a 41-year-old window cleaner, received accolades throughout England for his tale of rescuing two men from the wreckage of a small aircraft in August 2004, just before the plane exploded in a fireball. The third passenger onboard the plane was killed.

For his daring rescue, according to the Daily Mail, Gallimore received invitations to recount the tale, and he was even rewarded with the Queen's Commendation for Bravery -- except Gallimore had nothing to do with the actual rescue.

Someone pulled the two victims from the wreckage, however -- and that man was Mike Winstanley, a window fitter who was driving by the Alice in Wonderland amusement park when the aircraft impacted the ground at the front gate.

It was Winstanley, not Gallimore, who dove into the wreckage and rescued the two men. Gallimore was there, as well -- but he only assisted in pulling the victims across a road away from the flaming wreckage, along with two other unidentified passers-by.

That is still noble... but when the cameras arrived, Gallimore took credit for the entire rescue -- and that didn't sit well with the true hero.

"You cannot get any lower than that, than a snake's belly," said Winstanley. "He should do the right thing and hand the award back. I am not saying I am a hero or deserve an award but I was in the right place at the right time, not him, and just did what any normal person would do."

The accident claimed the life of passenger Andrew Anderson, according to the Daily Mail. Those rescued were the airplane's pilot, Rob Le Page, and Dave Bougourd.

"There was a person who died in that aircraft," added Winstanley at the inquest. "He should have more respect for him and the two men who were seriously injured."

After collecting several accolades -- including one radio station's "Most Heroic Act" award, as well as the previously mentioned royal commendation -- Gallimore was forced to reveal his "embellished" tale last week.

"In the heat of the moment I probably said things that didn't happen," admitted Gallimore.

FMI: www.imdb.com/title/tt0104412/

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