A Real-Life Texas-Sized Hero

The Fourth of July celebration in Coppell, Texas, is a bit more special this year because of one person - Sid Baxter. CBS News Correspondent Drew Levinson reports.

Baxter was one of the passengers on board the American Airlines flight that crash-landed in Little Rock, Ark., last month killing 11 people. With a gashed leg and in pain, Baxter scrambled to get out - but stopped when he heard a faint cry for help. It was Kristy Sheridan.

"I thought I was screaming, but he said I was barely whispering," she says.

"She says, 'Please don't leave me here to die.' And I say, 'Where you at?' And she says, 'Down here,'" Baxter recalls.

Baxter stumbled in the darkness toward that voice. Sheridan lay under a storage bin - her neck broken. He then dragged her to safety and reassured and cared for her on that stormy night until rescue workers arrived.

Dazed and in pain, Sheridan didn't know who saved her until three days later when she went to look at the mangled plane.

Sheridan calls the 50-year-old aerospace engineer from San Diego her angel - she says he was on that plane for a reason.

Sheridan wanted everyone to know about the man who saved her life so she convinced someone - an anonymous donor - to fly Baxter and his wife Rita to a town full of admirers.

In fact, the small Texas city named July 3 as "Sidney Baxter Appreciation Day."

"This is completely fitting for this person Sidney Baxter. In my eyes he's everything a hero can be," Sheridan says.

Despite the adulation, Baxter remains humble.

"I am just some guy that was trying to do the right thing. I think if it would have been my mother or sister or somebody, I would like to think that somebody would have stopped and tried to help them," he says.

Sunday, Baxter will receive the key to the city. A month ago he and Kristy Sheridan were strangers on a plane; now they say they're friends for life.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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