NTSB: Medical Helicopter Hit Light Pole Before Deadly Talihina Crash
TALIHINA, Oklahoma - A medical helicopter that crashed shortly after taking off from the Choctaw Nation Health Care Center in Talihina on June 11, 2013 hit a light pole before impacting the ground, according to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The patient on board died in the crash and a flight nurse was seriously injured.
The EagleMed helicopter was taking off from the Choctaw Indian Hospital in Talihina, en route to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, when the pilot lost control and crashed.
It hit the ground about 230 feet from its takeoff position.
The patient on board, 49-year-old Michael Wilson, of Bethel, was killed. A flight nurse who was in critical condition, is improving, but is still in the hospital.
NTSB investigators came out with a preliminary report on the crash. It shows, when the helicopter landed at the hospital, "another helicopter had just landed and was occupying the single space helipad surface."
So, the pilot landed on an adjacent asphalt road.
After picking up the patient, the report shows the pilot said he "began a normal takeoff from a hover," and intended to follow the center of the road in a westbound direction.
When the helicopter was 175 feet west of the take off location, the left side of the rotor blade "impacted a 41-foot-tall metal light pole," which was located on the left side of the road.
A hospital spokesperson says there have not been any prior near misses or complaints about the pole.
A commission that evaluates medical transport services has placed the accreditation of EagleMed on hold after the crash, which is routine. The group won't make a decision on EagleMed's accreditation until reviewing the final NTSB report.
EagleMed is based in Wichita, Kansas, but operates 24 aircraft in eight states.
The company didn't return my phone call.