Helicopters Grounded After Sunday's Crash

7 years 9 months 12 hours ago Monday, December 20 2010 Dec 20, 2010 Monday, December 20, 2010 6:39:45 PM CST December 20, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - Air Methods grounded Staff For Life helicopters after one crashed in La Monte on Sunday. Air Methods spokesperson Joan Drake said Staff For Life 1 helicopter in Columbia and Staff For Life 2 based in Osage Beach were both back in service by 7 a.m.  She said the helicopters were down for around 12 hours.

Drake said the grounding gave everyone a chance to diffuse and collect themselves after the crash. Craig Yale, Vice President of Air Methods of Colorado, said the grounding is standard procedure.

"We usually do some type of safety stand down for a period of 12 to 24 hours. It really depends on when the crews are comfortable about being able to go back to work," Yale said.

A flight nurse, paramedic and pilot on the helicopter that crashed remained in the University Hospital Monday. All three are listed in fair and stable condition.

The helicopter crash happened Sunday morning at about 10 a.m. Assistant Chief of the LaMonte Fire Department Mariah Durham spoke with the pilot after the crash.  She said, he told her the engine quit functioning, causing a 200-foot drop back to the ground. Air Methods is still investigating the crash and is not exactly sure the cause.

"There's nothing about this so far that would give us any reason to believe that there's anything systematic," Yale said. "It's isolated, we believe, to the aircraft."

The helicopter crashed on its way to a medical call; another Staff For Life helicopter responded to the original emergency.


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