Medical Helicopter Lands In Tulsa Field After Striking Hawk

Tuesday, February 15th 2011, 3:24 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa medical helicopter made an unexpected landing in a field Tuesday after hitting a hawk during flight.

The pilot put the helicopter down as a precaution near I-44 and Highway 75.

The Air Evac helicopter was airlifting a patient to Hillcrest hospital when it hit the bird. EMSA was called in to transport the patient the rest of the way.

The flight nurse went with the patient to the hospital and was dropped off back at the scene.

The impact left a bloody stain and what will be an expensive dent. Witnesses said this carcass of a large hawk was still stuck on the tail when the helicopter landed.

The precautionary landing in the middle of a neighborhood attracted some attention.

"Actually, I was in the house on the computer and I heard a helicopter, and I said 'whoa that's close.' So, I ran out here to see what was going on," said neighbor Nicole Beaumont.

An Air Evac mechanic was called to inspect the aircraft, and though he found everything intact, the dent makes the helicopter unfit to fly and it will be hauled to a hangar for repairs.

As the flight crew secured the aircraft and their equipment, another hawk circled nearby and neighbors say they see lots of them.

"I see one that perches right up there and he'll catch something and eat it," Beaumont said.

The landing was in one of the few wide open spots near Highway 75 and I-44, and right along the flight path as the crew transported a patient from Bristow to Tulsa.

There's been more attention lately on the danger to aircraft from bird strikes.

They're naturally going to happen more at low altitudes where helicopters fly and other aircraft are in critical phases of flight while taking off or landing.

Air Evac is based out of West Plains, Missouri.