CHICAGO, IL- The chicagotribune.com reports that an air ambulance made a crash landing near I-57 in Chicago’s Fernwood neighborhood. The helicopter was carrying a patient at the time of the crash. The patient was listedas in critical condition. Three helicopter crewmen also suffered injuries and were reportedly in stable condition following the crash landing.
The cause of the crash-landing is not yet known. Representatives from the Chicago Fire Department say that the pilot issued a mayday call prior tothe landing in a median near Wentworth Avenue. The Fire Department Deputy District Chief complemented the pilot’s job of landing the helicopter while enduring an emergency situation.
Overall, helicopter accidents are on the decline in the United States. In 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration released data showing a drop from 3.67 accidents per 100,000 flight hours in 2015 to 3.19 accidents in 2016. The decline in helicopter crashes is good news for an industry that has developed a reputation as quite dangerous. In 2008, Emergency Medical Helicopter pilots were considered by some to have the most dangerous job in the United States.
However, the dangers of emergency medical helicopters are often overstated. The spike seen in 2008 was likely in part the result of a rapidly growing industry, and the safety of air ambulances was already increasing year by year. Thisis considered an impressive feat because air ambulances are often flying in poor visibility and in areas with power lines and other obstacles that present challenges for air ambulance pilots. Even with all of the unique dangers presented, it is not the deadliest form of helicopter flight. More accidents are caused annually by nonprofessional pilots on personal helicopter flights.
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