A medical helicopter crashed near the Drexel Hill United Methodist Church in Drexel Hill, Delaware County, on Tuesday afternoon, injuring a newborn and three crew members.
Just before 1 p.m., a crash occurred in the 600 block of Burmont Road near Bloomfield Avenue.
According to reports, the chopper was on its way to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
The three crew members were flown to Lankenau Medical Center, while the two-month-old newborn was transferred to CHOP. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, according to officials.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle. It’s nothing short of a miracle “Timothy M. Bernhardt, Upper Darby Police Superintendent, commented
There have been no reports of individuals on the ground being injured.
Joshua James, a witness, claimed he was driving near the scene with his wife and little boy when he noticed the helicopter’s tail swinging back and forth as it came to a halt. He reversed his vehicle.
“It makes no sense to me,” James told the Associated Press, “that it didn’t strike any of the cables or anything – that it didn’t harm us.”
Residents on the street told Actions News that the chopper was only a few feet from their homes before it crashed.
“I assumed it was a bomb since the boom was so loud. It was a strange sound, unlike anything I’d ever heard before “Lisa Smith expressed her thoughts.
The streets were then filled with neighbours.
Denise Palmarino, who has lived in Drexel Hill for 20 years, stated, “I raced out down the street, there were flames and people coming out from the top of the chopper.”
Everyone is appreciating the pilot, who was in a very difficult situation. The collision site is surrounded by a large number of residences, a busy road, schools, and businesses.
“I can’t wait to meet this gentleman and shake his hand for the manner he got this (helicopter) down,” Bernhardt added.
Emma Gray, a senior at Upper Darby High School, was riding in a Lyft car when she heard the accident.
“We heard this big boom. All of a sudden there was a bunch of glass and flaming debris on the road. Then there was a helicopter and part of it was on fire,” she recalled.
Gray said she and her Lyft driver got out to help.
“These guys started coming out of it and they’re like, ‘Someone come help us, there’s someone trapped underneath.’ They were like, ‘here take this,’ to my Lyft driver, and it was a baby,” recalled Gray.
Gray said she did her best to calm the pilot.
“I was able to kneel down beside him and say like, ‘Hey man, I called 911, help is in the way,” said Gray.
A statement from WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital said “…earlier today a LifeNet medical helicopter based out of Hagerstown, Md. That flight subsequently crashed on the way to Philadelphia. Our hearts go out to family and crew on board and we are grateful that early reports indicate the patient and crew survived and that the patient was transported on to the planned hospital by ground transport.”
A fire official said the helicopter had about an hour’s worth of fuel left at the time of the crash, and crews took steps to keep leaking fuel from contaminating groundwater.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft was a Eurocopter EC135 medical helicopter and that the agency was investigating, along with the National Transportation Safety Board.
A spokesman for Air Methods, the air medical emergency transport 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 with their efforts to assess the cause of this unfortunate accident,” said Air Methods spokesman Doug Flanders.
A cause of this crash remains under investigation.