New Mexico Helicopter Crash Injures PilotBy: Mike Fossum - April 10, 2014
The pilot of a medivac helicopter was injured after crash landing on the roof of University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque Wednesday at around 6 p.m. Two other medical personnel were on board, but were unhurt. The pilot’s injuries are said to be not life-threatening.
The air ambulance was transporting a patient from from Rio Rancho, NM at the direction of the Rio Rancho Fire Department. The helicopter went down while attempting to take off after delivering a patient to UNMH. The fifth and sixth floors of the hospital were evacuated, visitations for the evening were limited and the facility is presently only admitting serious trauma patients. UNMH is the only level one trauma center in New Mexico.
Engineers are assessing the structural integrity of the helipad at UNHM, and medivac flights are currently being rerouted to Johnson Field on the University of New Mexico campus, as well as to the Albuquerque International Sunport.
Here is the crash scene from a different vantage:
A witness said the helicopter started wobbling out of control at about 30 feet up after takeoff, jerked one last time, and then went down. Upon impact, the witness described substantial flames and smoke, and the sprinkler system in the hospital was triggered. Hospital officials have stated that there is no threat of any additional fires.
The cause of the crash is still unknown, and the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will aid in the investigation. The helicopter is owned by Petroleum Helicopters, Inc., a civilian aeromedical helicopter service, which regularly transports patients to UNMH.
Image via Twitter