Avera St. Luke's Careflight Helicopter Makes Hard Landing
Around 3:15 a.m. on Saturday morning (4/14/2012), the Avera St. Luke’s Careflight helicopter was returning to the hospital after refueling at the airport when the pilot in command heard an unusual noise in the aircraft and began to perform a precautionary landing. Subsequently the aircraft experienced a hard landing on a gravel road. His skills successfully avoided people, buildings and power lines. The pilot was alone in the aircraft and was able to walk away from the downed helicopter. He was treated and released from the Emergency Department.
The helicopter landed just west of Sacred Heart Cemetery and sustained significant damage from the impact. The tail section and undercarriage of the aircraft sustained the most damage.
Avera St. Luke’s Careflight is a contracted service from Med-Trans Corp of Dallas, TX, a provider of emergency flight ambulance services. Officials from Med-Trans and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are on their way to Aberdeen to begin the official investigation of the incident.
“We are very grateful that there was no injury or harm to anyone as a result of this incident,” says K.C. DeBoer, Vice President of the Hospital Division at Avera St. Luke’s. “Our praises go to the pilot for reacting so quickly and skillfully.”
Med-Trans has received permission from the FAA and NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) to move the helicopter. It will be loaded on a truck and taken to a secured hanger at the airport where the NTSB and FAA will examine it.
Avera St. Luke’s has suspended their helicopter transport services temporarily but expects to resume service in the next few days.