A MEDICAL HELICOPTER OPERATING OUT OF ROCKFORD Memorial Hospital in Lee County, Illinois, crashed in a field Monday night killing the pilot and two nurses who were on board.
This Facebook photo shows the Rockford Health System REACT helicopter.
The airship went down about 8:30 pm Central while on its way to Mendota to pick up a patient. WREX-TV is reporting:
The cause of the crash is still unknown, but RHS Spokesperson Wester Wuori believes it might be weather-related. Casey Sullivan, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Romeoville, Illinois says flurries and light snow were reported with the 8:00pm automatic weather observation at Rochelle Municipal Airport. The temperature was 30 degrees with a wind out of the west at 7 mph. He could not confirm whether icing was a factor in the crash. "We did not receive any reports of any icing in that area from aircraft, but that's not to say it wasn't possible" he says.
The helicopter was completely demolished on impact (WGN-TV)
WREX Chief Meteorologist Eric Sorensen explains that the air was saturated and the temperatures were right around freezing at flight level. "Aircraft icing disrupts the aerodynamics around aircraft fuselage and can add a significant amount of weight which can cause the aircraft to become unstable."
ABC7 filed this video report from the scene:
According to the hospital's website, the agency has been operating the helicopter since 1987 and flown more than 10,000 flights without an accident.
A NEW ZEALAND HELICOPTER PILOT will be going to church for sure this Sunday. Earlier this morning (Wednesday) around 10:30 am local time, Greg Gribble was using his helicopter in a work zone to help set up a 70-ft.-high fiber-optic Christmas tree for the New Zealand Telecom when the rotors appeared to strike a cable.
Fairfax Media photo
The impact caused the aircraft's rotor blades to start breaking apart while sending the fuselage spinning out of control just 15 feet off the ground. The helicopter broke into pieces while flinging the strapped-in pilot around the cabin before it came to rest nose up on the ground. Fortunately there was no fuel leak to trigger a hot and potentially fatal fire and several of the construction workers were able to climb onto the wreckage and free the pilot who remained conscious the entire time.
NZTV was videorecording the operation for their news broadcast when the incident took place. They captured the entire wreck plus the daring rescue by the site workers who leapt onboard to get Gribble to safety amidst the obvious fire hazard:
Amazingly, despite the flying debris being pitched around, nobody on the ground was struck or injured.
Greg Gribble is the owner of the family business Helisika Helicopters and is in his mid-50's according to his daughter. He was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital just a few hours later.
Stuff.co.nz has a good, complete report plus an 11-image photo gallery HERE.
Police Helicopter Searching for Nursing Home Resident
A POLICE HELICOPTER ON A SEARCH MISSION crashed in a Baden-Wurttemburg forest in Germany Tuesday night. The 3-member crew, two men and one woman, were doing an aerial search for a 77-yr.-old woman who had strayed away from a nursing home. While they were scanning the wooded area using a thermal-imaging camera, the pilot lost control around 9:30 pm and crashed the aircraft leaving all three officers in critical condition.
All photos via 7actuell
The Engelsbrand Fire Brigade responded to the crash site and had to use heavy-duty rescue tools to extricate the injured officers.
The missing woman was found a short while later in the same general area where the helicopter went down.
There was no immediate indication of why the plane crashed and an investigation has begun.
The Stuttgarter-Zeitung has the story and a 19-image photo gallery HERE.
A HELICOPTER CHARTERED BY THE IDAHO Fish and Game Department crashed in the center of Kamiah, a small town not far from Lewiston, Tuesday morning. The crash killed the pilot and two Fish and Game biologists that were conducting an aerial survey of salmon spawning nests.
The aircraft was low and making loud noises which brought the attention of many residents in the town of 1,100 population. The AP reportsfrom one witness:
Witness Jim Emmert saw the crash from his house. He said he initially heard loud rhythmic banging, “like a rock-crusher, but with metal parts.” He ran to his deck of his home and realized the noise was coming from the helicopter heading east through Clearwater Valley.
“The thing was sounding like there was some serious metal destruction going on,” Emmert said. “It was maybe 800 feet off the valley floor, and then it kind of hesitated in its forward momentum before sliding backward.”
The helicopter lost a few hundred feet of altitude and flipped upside down, with its rotors toward the ground, before the pilot briefly managed to get it upright and level again.
“It started sliding to the left and downward and going down too rapidly,” Emmert said. “He was headed toward some power lines, and I perceived that he banked it toward the right to avoid them.”
Others said that the pilot was doing his best to avoid any structures as it went down, clipping the corner of a house and crashing into a parked travel trailer.
Update, 10 pm Eastern: The other two passengers have died at the hospital. There are no survivors. Update #2: Pilot’s actions prevent greater tragedy. Scroll down.
A MEDICAL HELICOPTER HAS CRASHED IN A TUCSON, Arizona, neighborhood Wednesday afternoon. The plane crashed onto the sidewalk in front of a home and burst into flames at 1:43 pm local (Mountain standard) time (4:43 Eastern daylight), according to the Tucson Fire Department.
Nobody on the ground was injured. There were three medical personnel on the helicopter and one of them was killed immediately. The other two were injured, but there is no early report yet on the extent of their injuries. Update: Both of the other passengers, a paramedic and a flight nurse, died soon after at the hospital. Early reports say that the aircraft was carrying organ donor packages and did not have a patient on board.
Witness reports say that the engine of the helicopter just stopped while in flight, leaving it to drop to the ground.
This home video begins just prior to the arrival of the FD:
The LifeNet Health aircraft was flying from Marana to Douglas and was in radio contact with Tucson control. There was no indication from the pilot that he was having any problem during the flight.
Update: The other two passengers have died at the hospital. There are no survivors. Update #2, Thursday am: Several witness are saying that the pilot appeared to have steered the falling aircraft away from the houses so that it landed in the street. The Arizona Daily Star reports in part:
Ricardo Carrasco, said the helicopter’s rotors stopped working and it started to plummet. He said the pilot managed to steer the helicopter away from the house.”If he (the pilot) hadn’t turned around he’d have hit the house,” said Carrasco, who ran toward the helicopter after it crashed but wasn’t able to get close because of “a wall of flames.”
Joe Furno, who lives on the same street as Townsend, said the helicopter originally was heading toward at least two houses. “The way it was going, it might’ve hit between two houses and maybe hit mine,” Furno said. “He took it right into the middle of Park Avenue.”
This aerial view of the crash scene shows the proximity of the fuselage to one of the homes.