Heroic actions by passers-by saved victims involved in a fiery crash yesterday morning on SR443 in Mahoning Township.

The accident happened at about 10:05 in front of Route 443 Auto Sales, about 1/2 mile east of the Seneca Road intersection.

Police said the impact of the crash caused a vehicle with four people in it to burst into flames.

According to Chief of Police Kenneth J. Barnes, "Passers-by immediately stopped and pulled all of the passengers out of the burning Chrysler." They were pulled to safety before the fire reached the passenger compartment of the car.

The accident involved a pick-up truck driven by John Martinkovich, 90, of Route 903, Jim Thorpe, and a sedan driven by Marino Curzi, 73, of the 100 block of Greenwood Street, Coaldale.

There were three passengers in the Curzi car. The names of the passengers were not available today.

Both drivers and all the passengers were transported to Lehigh Valley hospitals by four medical helicopters which were dispatched to the scene. The conditions of the victims were not known.

Curzi and the occupants in her car were flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township.

Martinkovich was flown to St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill.

Barnes said witnesses to the accident stated to police that the pickup truck, heading east, veered into the westbound lane and crashed head-on into the Chrysler.

Flames quickly engulfed the Chrysler but the immediate intervention by the passers-by managed to get everyone out of the vehicle.

At one point an explosion sent debris flying and consumed the car in fire.

The road was closed for about an hour because of the accident.

Township police were assisted at the scene by the Mahoning Valley Fire Company, Lehighton Fire Department, Lehighton Ambulance, and fire police units.