An air ambulance responding to an injury accidentally shredded a telephone line while taking off from a road in British Columbia, Canada — and it was all caught on video.
A man had fallen roughly 15 feet into a water-filled ditch while pruning trees from a tractor bucket, injuring his back. First responders said the man’s body was submerged halfway in the water at the bottom of the trench.
It was decided that due to the severity of the man’s back injuries and the distance from medical facilities, a helicopter was needed to transport the man to the hospital. Firefighters lifted him out of the water and transferred him to a medical helicopter that had landed on the road. However, immediately after taking off, the rear rotor of the helicopter hit a telephone line. The pilot felt the vibrations and landed in the clearing next to the road to be safe.
A question occasionally posed to those in the aviation industry is “how are aircraft affected by earthquakes?” The automatic response given to this question is often something along the lines of “airplanes fly above them.” And so, the question lives on – unanswered – in the mind of the curious inquirer.
Everyone is aware of the effects earthquakes can have on buildings, roads, and ground vehicles. Unfortunately, we have seen these effects illustrated in the recent devastation in Japan.
It may seem unlikely at first that an aircraft that spends so much time so far removed from the surface of the earth could be majorly affected by a specifically ground-based natural disaster. Yet, with more aircraft taking off and landing at all times than ever before, let alone all the aircraft and crews sitting on the ground at any one time, it’s not entirely unreasonable or trivial to wonder: Are they affected?
A very important topic in the air ambulance industry for 2011 is the burning issue of ground-to-air laser targeting of aircraft by civilians. In particular, February has seen no shortage of incidents regarding ordinary people carelessly endangering the lives of air medical crews and patients by pointing hand-held laser devices at aircraft.
Traveling at the speed of light, a laser beam in the aircraft gives no warning before it appears “out of nowhere,” making it a serious danger for air medical crews, who literally have no time to react to the situation.
“There is a general anger that someone could be so stupid to do such a thing to any aircraft, let alone the air ambulance,” says Carl Hudson, an air ambulance paramedic in the UK. (BBC News)
Last week, in Arapahoe County, Colorado, the frightening events of an otherwise routine medical transport have been circulating around the country. An air ambulance pilot was forced to resort to emergency landing procedures – during the transport of a child patient.An air ambulance was transporting the child from Cortez, Colorado to Centennial Airport, on the outskirts of Denver. Six people were on board the King Air turboprop. The transport was going well, but as the pilot prepared to land, the front wheel of the plane refused to come down. Due to some kind of malfunction, the wheel would simply not deploy.
The pilot reported to the tower that the nose gear was not responding. They were forced to make a hard landing.
The Kansas City Star reports that the helicopter was responding to a call and had just lifted off its helipad, when, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, it lost one of its engines and crashed down on its helipad in the small town of La Monte (10 miles west of Sedalia, Missouri) only a few feet away from a container of jet fuel and a number of propane tanks.
The helicopter, operated by Air Methods, was about 200 feet in the air when the lost engine failed. Nearby fire departments, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and a hazmat team responded to the crash.