The Medical Helicopter Crashes in Colorado

Biography Pilot killed when medical helicopter crashes in ColoradoThe pilot was killed and two other people were injured Friday when a medical helicopter exploded and burst into flames during takeoff near Frisco, about 70 miles west of Denver, according to fire officials. Officials identified the pilot as 64-year-old Patrick Mahany.

The two injured crew members, a paramedic and a hospital employee, were taken to Denver hospitals are are expected to survive their injuries, officials say. The Flight-for-Life chopper, an Astar AS350 B3, was taking off from St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco when it began to spiral out of control and crash into the ground, witness Curt Weitkunat said. Hospital officials say no patient was aboard the helicopter at the time of the explosion.

Weitkunat was at Adventure Park next to the hospital when the crash happened. He said the chopper was trying to gain altitude in windy conditions. Lake Dillon fire crews arrived on scene and found the chopper fully engulfed in flames. A truck parked next to the crash scene was also on fire. No one was inside the parked truck. "He was unfortunately stuck in the helicopter and had to be pulled out by our staff," trauma medical director Jodie Taylor said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were sending investigators to the crash scene, officials say. The Astar AS350 B3 helicopter had only been in service in Frisco for less than a year. A bigger, more powerful engine was installed in August. It was considered a state-of-the-art upgrade from the hospital's previous medical helicopter. - USA Today
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