Investigators investigate the wreckage of a crashed medical helicopter

UPPER DARBY, Pa. (AP) – Federal investigators looked into the wreckage of a medical helicopter a day after it crash-landed without killing people next to a church in a residential neighborhood in suburban Philadelphia, avoiding sort of a network of power lines and buildings.

Brian Rayner, senior safety investigator at the National Transportation Safety Board, told reporters on Wednesday that investigators hoped they could remove the wreckage from the scene at Drexel Hill United Methodist Church in Upper Darby later today for a more detailed off-site review.

Rayner said investigators were trying to document the wreckage as it was found, calling it a “data collection” that “won’t become information until we put everything together in one place and compared, seen how things are related and how things are in conflict “.

Rayner said he was very grateful that the occupants were “relatively unscathed” in Tuesday’s 1 p.m. crash. The pilot’s injuries were the most severe, but the other two adults and the little girl were “miraculously unharmed,” he said. The plane sustained significant damage, but in terms of evidence it was “in very good condition,” he said.

“I have no doubts that when we’re done, we can explain this accident,” Rayner said.


The investigation will also cover the history and training of the pilot and environmental aspects such as weather and terrain conditions, air traffic and communications, he said.

Upper Darby Township Fire Department Chief Derrick Sawyer confirmed there were children in a daycare associated with the church at the time of the crash. Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy M. Bernhardt reiterated that he believed it was a “miracle” that there were no fatal injuries.

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