National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on the scene of yet another fatal emergency medical services (EMS) helicopter crash in Aurora, Ill. last week, the ninth fatal EMS accident in the past year and the second in less than a month.
The latest accident happened in the final minutes of Oct. 15 as the three-man crew (pilot, paramedic and flight nurse) was transporting a 13-month-old girl, who was having seizures, to Children´s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Investigators believe the main rotor blades of the Bell 222, operated by Air Angels of Bolingbrook, Ill., hit one of the guy wires attached to a 700-foot-plus AM radio tower. The fuselage crashed in a field by the tower and burst into flames as pieces of debris from the aircraft, including parts of the rotor blades, crashed into cars in a nearby apartment complex parking lot. No injuries to people on the ground were reported. But authorities later asked residents living within 1,000 feet of the damaged antenna tower to evacuate their homes because of concerns about the stability of the tower.