A medical helicopter crashed outside Philadelphia on Tuesday, January 11 afternoon. An official noted that all four people aboard including an infant are expected to survive. Authorities informed that an EC135 medevac chopper crashed around 1 pm near Drexel Hill United Methodist Church in Delaware County. The chopper was on its way to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia from Maryland.
People aboard the helicopter, the pilot, a crew member, a nurse, and an infant patient were able to survive the crash in what the officials termed 'an absolute miracle.' No one was reported to have suffered life-threatening injuries.
"It's a miracle, it's an absolute miracle," Upper Darby police Superintendent Timothy M. Bernhardt said of the incident during a press conference. The infant, whose identity is not clear at the moment, was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Bernhardt noted in his statement.
Described by the officials as 'controlled landing,' the pilot managed to avoid colliding into utility lines. According to witnesses, the chopper crashed onto the street and bounced, then toppled over, settling into some bushes near the church.
Emergency workers reached the scene to find that the passengers had already gotten out of the helicopter. Bernhardt praised the pilot for keeping calm during the crash landing. "I can't wait to meet this gentleman and shake his hand for getting the helicopter down the way he did," he said.
Video of the wreckage moments after the crash showed the helicopter on its sides and fumes of smoke coming out of it as emergency workers ran towards it.
The Upper Darby Professional Firefighters hailed the helicopter crew for their bravery in a Facebook post. "All of them continued to provide care and direction for their patient and for their fellow crew members, despite their own injuries," the post noted.
What caused the crash?
No information was available on the cause of the crash. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency told The Associated Press that the crash could be associated with mechanical problems in the chopper.
Air Methods owned the EC 135 helicopter. They noted that the chopper was part of the LifeNet program based out of Hagerstown, Maryland. An Air Methods spokesman informed that the Federal Aviation Administration National Transportation Safety Board are notified of the crash and they are investigating the incident.
The identities of those on board were not clear at the moment. "Privacy rights with regard to those on board the aircraft will be honored, and we will not be sharing any additional information," vice president of communications Doug Flanders said in a statement.