No one seriously hurt when a medical helicopter crashes southwest of Tulsa

Tuesday, November 9th 2004, 6:26 pm
By: News On 6

The investigation will begin Wednesday into what caused a medical helicopter to crash Tuesday evening.

The helicopter went down near a Tulsa neighborhood in the 3900 block of West 91st Street. That's in Creek County, southwest of Tulsa.

News on 6 anchor Craig Day says emergency crews cordoned off the area around the crash site to keep people away. Four people were onboard the helicopter when it went down. Emergency crews and witnesses say those crew members are lucky to be alive.

Residents in the area of 3900 West 91st Street say they first heard something was wrong and they knew right away the helicopter was in trouble.

Anna Wilkerson: "I live north of here. I heard the helicopter, heard some spitting in the engine, and I called 911 because poof, it just disappeared.”

Cara Simpson: "I could tell something was wrong by the way the helicopter flew over. It sounded like it was going to hit the house and then it just had a huge bang and hit the ground.”

Within moments, witnesses watched as the Air-Evac helicopter’s pilot worked to bring the helicopter to the ground.

Cindy Paulsen: “It went on its side and started to spin. And at that point I put my car into reverse and started backing up because it was close and I wasn't sure where it was going to land.”

Three crew members were on board when the helicopter crashed. They're identified as the pilot Kenneth Capitol who has minor head injuries. Kerri Meier was the nurse on board, she also has minor head injuries and paramedic David Howard wasn't hurt. The medical helicopter was not carrying a patient.

There are a number of homes in the area near the field where that helicopter went down. Emergency crews and witnesses say it took a great deal of skill to bring the helicopter down and not hurt anyone on the ground. Creek County Undersheriff Rick Ishmael: “It's roughly 80% intact and it looks like from what the pilot had to deal with it looks like he did a great job of controlling the aircraft and putting it in the area he placed it in there.”

Witnesses report seeing small pieces flying off as the helicopter came down.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning.