First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Med Chopper Down in Arizona

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:

Helicopter crash courtesy Kevin Perkins from Josh Brodesky on Vimeo.

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. 

Arizona Daily Star

Thanks to Carmine S.

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