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Air race crash plane a "missile on steroids"

One of those injured in the horrific crash over the weekend of a World War II era plane at a Nevada air race was commercial pilot Noah Joraanstad.

The crash killed the pilot and nine spectators and left dozens hurt.

Joraanstad, covered in aviation fuel, was burned severely in the crash. Shrapnel tore into his back, narrowly missing his lung and kidneys.

He's currently recovering from surgery in Sparks, Nev.

Speaking fro his hospital bed on "The Early Show" Monday, Joraanstad said he saw The Galloping Ghost, the plane that crashed, take a third lap and knew something was wrong.

Air race safety questioned after Reno crash
Pictures: Deadly crash at Reno air races

He said, "(The plane) caught my attention because of how fast it pitched up, and I watched it, and when it started rolling over and coming down, I knew something was wrong mechanically with the plane. So I just looked up and saw it coming down and I thought, 'Alright, well, this is it, but I'm going to give it a shot and run and hope for the best,' and that is what I did."

Joraanstad continued, "I just thought, you know, there is going to be a lot of parts flying and probably an explosion. I honestly thought there is probably no way I'm going to get away from it, but I'm going to give it my best shot."

The plane, he said, sounded like "a missile on steroids."

"It just hit so violently and I kind of, at the last second, closed my eyes and just hoped and prayed, and it just kind of threw me across the ground and, right after that, I got up and ran on adrenaline for a couple of seconds"

The spectators, Joraanstad said, are the heroes of the story, helping him after he collapsed.

He said, "It was a matter of seconds before spectators started to help and, to me, that is the most amazing part -- people came into that war zone and started helping."

Joraanstad said he knew he was hurt immediately.

He recalled, "I didn't know the extent of the injuries because I just didn't -- you know, I felt my back, and I felt that there was something there that was missing, and then I was bleeding from my head, so at that point, I started making some phone calls, called my mom and my dad and just kind of told them what was going on, and it was kind of hard to explain because no one really knew what was going on yet, you know?"

The scene around him, Joraanstad said, was like a war zone.

"(There was) carnage everywhere and (it) just looked like a bomb went off," he said.

When asked by "Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge if these types of air shows should be curtailed because of the risk, Joraanstad said it's a "complicated question."

He said, "This was a very, very freak accident, you know? And I think that. particular with Reno, it's going to be almost impossible for this to go on anymore. It is dangerous and when that many people get their lives taken away, it is pretty hard to justify continuing an event like that.