4 escape serious injury after medical helicopter crashes in Marks

Published 9:57 pm Saturday, July 28, 2007

Four people in a medical helicopter that crashed Saturday morning as it was taking off from the Quitman County Hospital escaped serious injury.

Two people remain hospitalized following the accident, which happened at 2:07 a.m. in the Mississippi Delta town of Marks.

Jonathan Dancy, Quitman County’s acting emergency management coordinator, said the helicopter was transporting a patient who suffered injuries during an auto accident to Memphis, Tenn.

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“It had just lifted off and got just above the trees,” Dancy said. “The few witnesses who were here said it started rotating around and around and just went down.”

A Federal Aviation Administration investigator arrived around noon and was conducting interviews and taking photos of the wreck. Dancy said he expected the wreckage to be turned over to a salvage crew in the early afternoon.

Dancy said the helicopter crashed about 20 feet from the helipad at the hospital, which sits along Mississippi 3 in south Marks, a town of about 1,550 that is 60 miles south of Memphis.

The names of the four people in the helicopter, owned by Air Evac, were not yet available.

Dancy said the female patient did not suffer injuries in the crash. She was taken by ground ambulance to a Memphis hospital where she was being treated for unknown injuries she suffered in the auto accident.

One of two medical personnel on board suffered a broken bone or vertebrae and his injuries were “nothing critical,” Dancy said.

The pilot and the second medic were not injured, which Dancy said was amazing considering how the wreckage looked.

“It looks like a mess,” he said. “A lot of it is because they cut the top off it. But when you look at it, you wouldn’t believe somebody survived.”