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Yosemite visitors rescued from burning vehicle return to thank park ranger

June 26, 2009 |  1:43 pm

James Bachman, Ranger Dan Abbe and Dorothy Hovland.

Two Yosemite park visitors rescued from a burning vehicle returned to thank the park ranger whom they credit with saving their lives.

James Bachman and Dorothy Hovland, both from Huntington Beach, returned to Yosemite National Park Thursday to give their thanks to Ranger Dan Abbe and present him with a plaque to show their appreciation.

"If it wasn't for Dan, we wouldn't have been able to get out of the vehicle. The engine started on fire while we were still inside," Bachman said during the presentation. "He is a very special person, and we are alive because of him."

In late May, Abbe was flagged down while on his way to work in Yosemite Valley and told of a pickup truck and trailer that had gone over the side of the highway and was resting 40 feet down a steep hillside.

While attempting to free the two passengers, he noticed a fire in the engine compartment.

Minutes after Abbe pried the door open and got the occupants out, the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.

Abbe, Bachman and Hovland were transported to the Yosemite medical clinic, where all were treated for smoke inhalation and released.

"We are so appreciative of the effort James and Dorothy have taken to recognize one of our park rangers, acting deputy park Supt. Jim Hammet said. "This level of gratitude is rarely expressed by visitors, and we are so thankful to have a ranger like Dan Abbe on our staff."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: James Bachman, Ranger Dan Abbe and Dorothy Hovland. Credit: Erik Skindrud/National Park Service