A pilot made a forced landing of a medical helicopter without loss of life in a residential area in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and somehow avoided a network of power lines and buildings while the plane hovered, hit the street and slipped through the bushes. outside a church, authorities and witnesses said.
It was a miracle» that none of the four people on board, including a child patient, suffered fatal injuries, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy M. Bernhardt said.
It was a medical helicopter that had mechanical problems and crashed next to a church in the United States (AP).
Rescuers headed to Drexel Hill United Methodist Church in Upper Darby and helped remove the pilot, two crew members and to the baby from the plane, Bernhardt told a news conference. The baby was taken to a hospital.
The helicopter is believed to have had mechanical problems during the flight, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said, citing reports from county officials.
The helicopter broke in two
At the crash site, a stop sign on the corner was snapped in two and had apparently been hit by the helicopter when it fell. The helicopter was cut into two parts, right outside the church.
«It’s a miracle, it’s an absolute miracle, this is what they see behind me,» Bernhardt said, adding that he is eager to shake hands with the pilot by lowering the helicopter the way they did.
A witness, Joshua James, said he was driving nearby with his wife and young son when he saw the rear of the helicopter rock from side to side as it glided to a stop. He put his car in reverse.
The helicopter seconds after crashing (AP).
«It doesn’t make sense to me that it didn’t hit any of the cables or anything, that it didn’t hit us,» James said.
Jerrell Saunders, 28, said he had been walking from his maintenance job at a nearby apartment building when he saw the helicopter «just hovering, very low, extremely low, like it might land in the building I work in.»
He got in his car to go to the hardware store and the helicopter was going in the same direction. Said Saw him hit the ground in the middle of the road and slide across the floor until crashed.
«I guess the pilot tried to land in a safe area, because he bounced off the ground, fell, and slid,» Saunders said.
It was a «miracle» that none of the four people on board, including a child patient, suffered fatal injuries (AP).
The helicopter turned on its side and, as smoke billowed out, saw people jumping out of the helicopter.
«I am telling my grandchildren about this,» he said.
The danger of fuel
A fire official said the helicopter had about an hour of fuel left at the time of the accident, and crews took steps to prevent the fuel from leaking out and contaminating the water.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft was a Eurocopter EC135 medical helicopter and that the agency was investigating, together with the National Transportation Safety Board.
The helicopter split in the middle (AP).
A spokesperson for Air Methods, the air medical emergency transportation service that owns the helicopter, said it was part of the LifeNet program based in Hagerstown, Maryland. Federal agencies were investigating.
«Our team will cooperate fully in your efforts to assess the cause of this unfortunate accident,» said Doug Flanders, spokesman for Air Methods.