PRESCOTT, Ariz. - Two Prescott boys are being hailed as heroes after they saved their great-uncle when a classic car they were restoring collapsed on top of him.
Don Mapes and his two grandnephews, Patrick and Wyatt Eyler, had been working every day this summer to restore a 1952 MG TD before Mapes had his 50th high school reunion.
“I had two deadlines: I wanted to get it done by the time Dad passed away and I missed that by 35 years or something. Then it was I wanted to get it done before mom passed away and I missed that by eight years and, well, now I just want to get it done before I die and then my high school reunion came up," said Mapes.
One day the boys met Mapes at the shop and got ready to flush out the brakes.
"I had a bad feeling something was going to go wrong," said Wyatt Eyler.
And sure enough, after Mapes got under the car -- the front wheels slipped off of a board and broke the chain that was holding it up.
“When the car first fell on him I didn’t know what happened until I wasn’t frozen and I actually looked down and saw him under the car and that’s when I started to freak out. But I told myself I have to keep cool, don’t panic,“ said Patrick Eyler.
Mapes was able to pull his arm out from under the car, which was crushing his chest, and instruct the boys on how to put a jack under the frame.
“I was able to instruct them and even help them a little bit. At first, they put the jack not far enough, then too far, then back under the frame," said Mapes.
The boys' mom called 911 while the boys got the car high enough to free Mapes.
“I knew two things: First when I got my arm out -- that’s when I thought, 'Well, I’m going to survive this. Before I got my arm out, I wasn’t sure if I was going to suffocate or not. And then they got all the weight off and … it was like they got all the weight off."
Mapes was able to get up and walk out to meet emergency responders with only minor bruises and some cuts.
“There’s no question that if these boys hadn’t been here, my life would have ended down there. So they definitely did save my life," he said.
The boys were also honored by Prescott Fire Department last week and now they say they want to become firefighters when they grow up.