|Firefighters and police examine the smoldering wreckage after a helicopter crashed near St. Louis University Hospital late Friday, March 6, 2015.
Photo by David Carson, firstname.lastname@example.org
March 7, 2015 – MISSOURI, UNITED STATES – The pilot of a medical helicopter was killed late Friday in a crash near St. Louis University Hospital, a spokesman for the St. Louis Fire Department said.
The pilot was the only person aboard the helicopter, which was bound for the hospital to pick up a crew when it went down about 11:13 p.m. near Spring Avenue and Rutger Street, just west of the hospital, fire Capt. Garon Mosby said.
Mosby said the cause of the crash had not been determined. Federal Aviation Administration investigators were on the scene Saturday morning, and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on the way.
The helicopter had just left the ARCH Air Medical Services base at 2207 Scott Avenue, near Highway 40 (Interstate 64) and Jefferson Avenue. In an emailed statement, ARCH’s parent company, Englewood, Colo.-based Air Methods, said the helicopter was an EC-130.
“We are deeply saddened by the news that our sole occupant, our pilot, was fatally injured, and our hearts go out to the pilot’s family,” the statement said. “The FAA and the NTSB have our full cooperation as they investigate the accident.”
|Firefighters hose down smoldering wreckage from a helicopter crash at St. Louis University Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2015.
Photo By David Carson, email@example.com
|Firefighters and police examine the smoldering wreckage after a helicopter crashed near St. Louis University Hospital late on Friday, March 6, 2015.
Officials report one person died. Photo by David Carson, firstname.lastname@example.org
In operation since 1979, ARCH Air Medical Service provides critical car ambulatory transportation from accident scenes and from hospitals and other medical institutions in Missouri and Illinois. Air Methods operates more than 450 aircraft nationwide in 48 states, including 363 helicopters through its air medical services division. According to its website, ARCH operates EC-130 helicopters from bases in Sullivan, Mo.; Warrenton, Mo.; Urbana, Ill.; and Springfield, Ill.
Witnesses at the scene said they saw the helicopter and then heard what sounded like an explosion.
Willie Thomas, 57, of Jennings, said he was sitting in his truck with his son outside the hospital waiting for his daughter, who was inside getting X-rays.
Just before the crash, Thomas said he and his son saw a helicopter flying low with a light shining down on them and on the hospital. Then it dropped. He thought it had landed until he saw people running toward the crash site.
WATCH: Witness Says Helicopter Crashed At SLU Hospital.
Kenneth Grady, 48, who lives near the hospital, said he heard what sounded like a truck dropping a large trash container and saw a fire with flames reaching as high as the top of a light pole.
“It rocked the neighborhood,” Grady said.
Authorities were still investigating Saturday morning and had an area around the crash site blocked off. The hospital remained open. Dialysis patients needing access to Drummond Hall, at 3691 Rutger Street, can enter by going south on Spring Avenue from Chouteau Avenue.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the pilot,” said SLU Hospital spokeswoman Laura Keller in an emailed statement. – St. Louis Post-Dispatch.