Medical Helicopter Control: Crews Respond to Helicopter Control in Drexel Hill, Delaware County Pennsylvania

DREXEL HILL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) – An infant and three crew members were injured Tuesday afternoon when a medical helicopter crashed near Drexel Hill United Methodist Church in Drexel Hill, Delaware County.

The accident happened in the 600 block of Burmont Road near Bloomfield Avenue just before noon

The helicopter was on its way from WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when the incident occurred.

The three crew members were rushed to Lankenau Medical Center and the two-month-old infant patient was brought to the CHOP. Officials miraculously said no one suffered life-threatening injuries.

“It’s a miracle. It’s an absolute miracle,” said Upper Darby Police Inspector Timothy M. Bernhardt.

There are no reports that people on the ground have been injured.

A witness, Joshua James, said he was driving nearby with his wife and little son when he saw the tail of the helicopter sway back and forth as it slid to a stop. He put his car in reverse.

“It makes no sense to me that it did not hit any of the wires or anything – that it did not hit us,” James told the Associated Press.

Actions News spoke to people living on the block, who say the helicopter was several meters from their home before it crashed.

“The noise was so loud I thought it was a bomb. It was crazy, not a sound I’ve ever heard before,” Lisa Smith said.

Neighbors then flooded the streets.

“I was running down the street, there were flames and people were climbing out of the top of the helicopter,” said Denise Palmarino, who has lived in Drexel Hill for 20 years.

Everyone praises the pilot, who was in a very difficult situation. Around the accident site there are a lot of homes, a busy road, schools and businesses.

“I can not wait to meet this gentleman and shake his hand to get this (helicopter down) like he did,” Bernhardt said.

Emma Gray, a senior from Upper Darby High School, was traveling with Lyft when she heard the crash nearby.

“We heard this big boom. Suddenly there was a lot of glass and flaming dirt on the road. Then there was a helicopter and part of it was on fire,” she recalled.

She says she and her Lift driver came out to help.

“These guys started getting out of it, and they say, ‘Someone come and help us, there’s someone trapped downstairs.’ They were like, ‘here, take this,’ to my Lift driver, and it was a baby, “Gray remembered.

She says she did her best to reassure the pilot.

“I was able to kneel down next to him and say, ‘Hey man, I called 911, help is in the way,'” Gray said.

A statement from WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital said “… earlier today a LifeNet medical helicopter based out of Hagerstown, Md. The plane subsequently crashed en route to Philadelphia. Our hearts go out to family and crew on board and we are grateful for early reports suggesting that the patient and crew survived and that the patient was transported on to the planned hospital by land transport. “

A firefighter said the helicopter had about an hour of fuel left at the time of the crash, and crews took steps to keep fuel leaking from contaminating groundwater.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft was a Eurocopter EC135 medical helicopter and that the agency was investigating it with the National Transportation Safety Board.

A spokesman for Air Methods, the medical emergency transportation service that owns the helicopter, said it was part of the LifeNet program based in Hagerstown, Maryland. Federal agencies investigated.

“Our team will cooperate fully with their efforts to assess the cause of this unfortunate accident,” said Air Methods spokesman Doug Flanders.

One cause of this crash is still under investigation.

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