A medical helicopter that crashed shortly after take-off from the Choctaw Nation Health Center in Talihina, Okla., earlier this month hit a light pole before impacting the ground, according to a preliminary report released by the National Transpiration Safety Board.
When the helicopter, ‘EagleMed 35,’ arrived at the hospital on June 11, the helipad was occupied by another medical helicopter, so the pilot landed on an asphalt surface of a road adjacent to the helipad, the report states.
An hour later EagleMed 35 took off from the location. The helicopter was 175 feet west of the area when the left side of the rotor blade disk hit a 41-foot-tall metal light pole located on the left side of the roadway.
The helicopter crashed and caught fire. The patient on board, Michael David Wilson, 49, of Bethel, Okla., was killed. A flight nurse was seriously injured, while the pilot and flight paramedic suffered minor injuries. The flight nurse is still recovering in a hospital, according to a report from KOTV in Tulsa.
Police, firefighters and emergency crews responded to the scene of the helicopter crash at about 6:30 p.m., according to a hospital spokesperson. A Hazardous Materials team was called to clean up the fuel spill from the wreck.
A hospital spokesperson told KOTV there have not been any prior near misses or complaints about the pole.
The helicopter was headed to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.