Medical helicopter crash: Crews respond to helicopter crash in Drexel Hill, Delaware County, Pennsylvania

DREXEL HILL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — A baby and three crew members were injured Tuesday afternoon when a medical helicopter crashed near Drexel Hill United Methodist Church in Drexel Hill, Delaware County.

The accident happened just before 1:00 PM on the 600 block of Burmont Road near Bloomfield Avenue

The helicopter was en route from WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia when the incident occurred.

The three crew members were rushed to Lankenau Medical Center and the two-month-old infant was taken to CHOP. Officials miraculously said no one suffered life-threatening injuries.

“It’s a miracle. It’s an absolute miracle,” said Upper Darby Police Commissioner Timothy M. Bernhardt.

There are no reports of injuries to people on the ground.

A witness, Joshua James, said he was driving nearby with his wife and young son when he saw the helicopter’s tail swaying as it skidded to a stop. He put his car in reverse.

“It makes no sense to me that it didn’t hit any of the wires or anything — that it didn’t hit us,” James told the Associated Press.

Actions News spoke to people who live in the area who say the helicopter was several meters from their home before it crashed.

“The noise was so loud I thought it was a bomb. It was a crazy noise that I’ve never heard before,” said Lisa Smith.

Neighbors then flooded the streets.

“I ran down the street, there were flames and people climbed out of the helicopter,” said Denise Palmarino, who has lived in Drexel Hill for 20 years.

Everyone praises the pilot, who was in a difficult position. There are many homes, a busy road, schools and businesses around the accident site.

“I can’t wait to meet this gentleman and shake his hand because he shot this (helicopter) down like he did,” Bernhardt said.

Emma Gray, a senior at Upper Darby High School, was traveling with Lyft when she heard the crash nearby.

“We heard this big bang. Suddenly there was a lot of glass and flaming debris on the road. Then there was a helicopter and part of it was on fire,” she recalls.

She says she and her Lyft driver got out to help.

“These guys started coming out and they said, ‘Someone is coming to help us, there’s someone trapped underneath.’ They said ‘here take this,’ to my Lyft driver, and it was a baby,” Gray said.

She says she did her best to calm the pilot.

“I could kneel next to him and say, ‘Hey man, I called 911, there’s help in the way,'” Gray said.

A statement from WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital said: “…earlier today a LifeNet medical helicopter from Hagerstown, Maryland. That flight then crashed en route to Philadelphia. Our hearts go out to the family and crew on board and we are grateful that early reports indicate that the patient and crew survived and the patient was transported by ground transport to the planned hospital.”

A fire department official said the helicopter had about an hour of fuel left at the time of the crash and that measures were taken by the crew to prevent leaking fuel from contaminating groundwater.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a Eurocopter EC135 medical helicopter and that the agency was conducting an investigation with the National Transportation Safety Board.

A spokesman for Air Methods, the emergency medical transport service that owns the helicopter, said it was part of the LifeNet program in Hagerstown, Maryland. Federal agencies were investigating.

“Our team will fully cooperate in their efforts to determine the cause of this unfortunate accident,” said Air Methods spokesman Doug Flanders.

The cause of this crash is still under investigation.

This is a news item. Come back for updates.

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