Pilot of crashed medical helicopter released from hospital

Northeast

A medical helicopter rests next to the Drexel Hill United Methodist Church after it crashed in the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby, Pa., on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Authorities and a witness say a pilot crash landed a medical helicopter without casualties in a residential area of suburban Philadelphia, miraculously avoiding a web of power lines and buildings as the aircraft fluttered, hit the street and slid into bushes outside a church.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The pilot of a medical helicopter that crash-landed without loss of life next to a church in a residential area of suburban Philadelphia last week expressed gratitude to his crew and first responders as he was released from a hospital Sunday.

The pilot, whose name has not been officially released, was wheeled out of the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center emergency room Sunday morning to applause from police and first responders and spoke to reporters before being taken home by ambulance with a police escort.

“I’m just feeling fortunate, you know — I had God as my co-pilot that day and we took care of the crew and we landed in his front yard, so that was kind of nice,” he said.

The Eurocopter EC135 medical helicopter owned by Denver-based Air Methods, part of the LifeNet program based in Hagerstown, Maryland, was also transporting an infant girl and two other crew members when it came down at about 1 p.m. Tuesday next to Drexel Hill United Methodist Church in Upper Darby.

The pilot said he didn’t remember “much of anything” about the crash, crediting other crew with rescuing him and getting the young patient to an ambulance.

“I remember waking up and looking up and seeing a whole company of firefighters looking down at me and that’s a real good feeling,” he said, expressing gratitude to first responders and the medical team treating him.

“I’m just glad to be here and I’m glad that I got my crew back alive,” he said. “I always tell people I just drive the bus; the heroes are in the back, working on the patient.”

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