My name is Li Ming and I’m a software engineer working in Denver, USA. I love hunting and outdoor survival, and I go on expeditions to the forests near the Rocky Mountains during my holidays every year. In October this year, my two friends, Wang Gang and Zhang Wei, and I planned a three-day hunting trip together.

We drove to a remote area and parked the car by the roadside. Then we walked into the forest with our equipment and food. We planned to build a temporary camp in the forest and then split up to hunt for prey. We all brought night vision binoculars to observe the animals’ activities in the dark.

On the first night, we didn’t catch anything except for seeing some small animals and birds. We returned to the camp and ate and chatted around the campfire. Wang Gang said he wanted to try night hunting to see if he could encounter some large wild animals. Zhang Wei and I were not very interested as we thought night hunting was too dangerous and did not comply with hunting ethics. We advised Wang Gang not to take risks, but he insisted on going, saying he just wanted to take a look and wouldn’t shoot recklessly. We reluctantly agreed, but told him to be careful and to return within half an hour.

Wang Gang left the camp with his rifle and night-vision binoculars. Zhang Wei and I continued chatting while waiting for his return. Half an hour went by, and Wang Gang still hadn’t returned. We became worried and used the walkie-talkie to contact him, but there was no response. We thought that maybe he had gone too far and the signal was poor. We decided to wait a little longer.

Ten more minutes passed, and we suddenly heard a loud noise in the distance, like an explosion. We were startled and immediately called Wang Gang on the walkie-talkie to ask what had happened. This time, we heard Wang Gang’s voice, but it was very panicked and frightened.

“Come and save me! Come and save me!” he shouted. “I found a small plane wreckage with lots of cash, but also some dead people who look like drug dealers or smugglers. I wanted to take photos as evidence, but I didn’t know that there was a bomb on the plane. It suddenly exploded, and I was blown away. My leg is injured, and I see people shooting at me. They may be the accomplices on the plane, and they want to kill me!”

We were shocked to hear Wang Gang’s words. We couldn’t believe it was true and felt like it was a scene from a movie. We asked him where he was, and he said he didn’t know, he just remembered that he had walked along a stream for a while and then saw the wreckage of the plane. We asked him if he saw any landmarks, and he said he saw a large rock with an arrow and the number “7” engraved on it. We remembered seeing a similar landmark when we entered the forest, indicating the hunting area’s number. We estimated that Wang Gang was near that area and told him we would come to rescue him and that he should hide in a safe place and not move, nor make any sound.

We grabbed our equipment and weapons and quickly left the camp, running towards the direction of the landmark. We kept in touch with Wang Gang on the walkie-talkie, asking about his situation while running. He said his leg was bleeding, and he felt weak. He heard gunshots getting closer and feared that he wouldn’t survive much longer. We comforted him and said we were almost there, asking him to hold on.

We ran for about ten minutes and saw the landmark on the large rock. We followed the arrow in the direction it pointed and walked along the stream. We cautiously peered ahead and saw the wreckage of the plane. The plane was blown to pieces with metal fragments and flames scattered everywhere. We saw several bodies, some of which were passengers or crew members on the plane, and others were later arrived criminals. We also saw some scattered bills on the ground, both US dollars and Mexican pesos. It was obviously a case related to drugs and smuggling.

We didn’t have time to worry about these things; we only focused on Wang Gang’s safety. We called him on the walkie-talkie and asked him where he was. He said he was at the back of the plane, hiding behind a big tree. We carefully bypassed the plane and walked towards the back. We saw Wang Gang lying on the ground, his face pale, and his leg wrapped in a bandage with bloody spots. He saw us, his eyes brightened, and then he passed out again.

We quickly ran over and checked his injuries. A metal fragment was inserted into his leg, causing a deep wound and massive bleeding. We used our first-aid kit to stop the bleeding and bandaged his leg. Then we picked him up and put him on our shoulders. We planned to take him back to the camp and call for help using our phones.

At that moment, we heard gunshots. Someone started firing at us. We lowered our heads and saw several armed men rushing out from the other side of the plane. They looked like Mexicans, wearing black leather jackets and jeans. They shouted and shot at us. We immediately hid behind a big tree and fired back. Our rifles had more advantages than their pistols, and we shot two of them, letting them fall to the ground. The rest of the two people saw an unfavorable situation and turned to run. We did not pursue them but took the opportunity to run away.

We ran back to the camp, placed Wang Gang in a sleeping bag, and fed him some water and painkillers. We dialed 911 on our phones, reporting the situation and requesting help. We told them our location and situation, and they said they would send a helicopter to us as soon as possible. We could only wait, praying that Wang Gang could hang on.

After about an hour, we heard the sound of the helicopter. We walked out of the tent, waving signal lights in our hands. The helicopter flew above us and dropped a sling. A person in uniform came down from the sling and walked towards us. He said he was an FBI agent responsible for investigating the plane crash case. He asked how we discovered the plane and we told him the story. He nodded and said we were lucky to have survived and escaped. Those criminals were members of an international drug smuggling group, who used small planes to transport drugs from Mexico to the United States, then dropped wallets in exchange for drugs in the air. This time, the plane crashed in the forest due to failure that they wanted to recover the money and drugs, so they killed people.

He said we were important eyewitnesses and needed to go with him to testify. He also said we could receive a bonus because we helped the police crack this major case. Hearing this, we were a bit incredulous. We just wanted to hunt and survive in the forest but encountered such things. We didn’t know if this was fortunate or unfortunate. We only cared about Wang Gang’s injuries and hoped he would recover.

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