FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4)– The Flight for Life pilot who was killed in a helicopter crash in Frisco on Friday is being remembered in the community.
“One of our flight for life helicopters went down with the crew,” said Jodie Taylor, Trauma Medical Director for St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. “We’re deeply saddened that our pilot was fatally injured.”
The helicopter, a Eurocopter AS350, was leaving St. Anthony Summit Medical Center when it crashed. Witnesses said it had trouble immediately on take off.
“We heard the helicopter take off, it started to spin uncontrollably, then crashed… big explosion, and debris started to come at me,” said witness Jason Bogner.
There were three crew members on board, all medical personnel. The pilot, Patrick Mahany, 64, was critically injured and did not survive his injuries. The other two suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to Denver-area hospitals for treatment. Their conditions were unknown on Saturday.
Mahany had been a pilot with Flight for Life since 1987. He was a Vietnam veteran pilot and received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart during his years of service.
Bogner said he reacted in the only way he knew how, he ran toward the burning helicopter to help.
“As I climbed the hill could see that there was the helicopter that had actually crashed into an RV and both were on fire. There was a pilot with the windshield already busted out, trying to get out,” said Bogner.
No patients were on board the helicopter when it crashed. Two other vehicles in the parking lot of the medical center were destroyed when the helicopter burst into flames.
The Federal Aviation Administration is at the crash scene and investigating what happened on departure that made the helicopter crash.
Air Methods released this statement: “Air Methods reported that an accident involving an Astar AS350 B3 occurred Friday, July 3, 2015 at approximately 14:42pm MT in Frisco. Colo. We are deeply saddened by the news that our pilot was fatally injured, and our hearts go out to the pilot’s family. We can also confirm that the flight paramedic and flight nurse on board received injuries, and there were no patients on the aircraft. The FAA and the NTSB have our full cooperation as they further investigate the accident. We want to continue to make sure we have all of the facts correct. We will be back in touch with you once we have more information.”