[cifnmedia] Medical Helicopter Crashes in Indiana

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 20:48:09 -0700 (PDT)

Medical Helicopter Crashes in Indiana

Associated Press

LYNNVILLE, Ind. (AP) -- A helicopter on a medical evacuation crashed in 
southwest Indiana early Wednesday, killing the heart patient on board and 
injuring the three crew members, officials said. 

Jerry Leonard, 63, died from suffocation because the impact caused his 
stretcher's chest strap to become positioned around his neck, said deputy 
coroner Darrel Healy. 

Leonard was being flown from Huntingburg to an Evansville hospital Tuesday 
night when the helicopter crashed about 20 miles outside Evansville, state 
police Sgt. Todd Ringle said. 

Ringle said the pilot of the Bell Jet Ranger helicopter ``started to make a 
turn, and as he was doing so, he started to tumble.'' The cause of the crash 
was being investigated, he said. 

Paramedic Robert Williams, 29, used a cell phone to call dispatchers, said Toni 
Chritton, a spokeswoman for Air Evac Lifeteam, which operates medical 
helicopters in 10 states. 

The helicopter was 13 years old and had been refurbished, Chritton said. The 
company had started flying the aircraft a month ago. 

It took more than an hour for rescuers in four helicopters to find the downed 
aircraft in the hilly, remote area, amid darkness. Williams, who had a broken 
arm, waved a flashlight to signal their location. 

Williams and a nurse, Steve Ritchey, 30, underwent surgery at a hospital in 
Evansville and were in stable condition, Chritton said. The pilot, Richard 
Larock, was listed in stable condition at a hospital in Louisville, Ky. 


Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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