LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 29, a helicopter carrying four members of the Survival Flight Air Medical Flight Service experienced an unknown issue resulting in the helicopter coming to rest on Gore Boulevard.
"This industry is not without risk, but if you have a bad day, this is the best case scenario because our people are what matter the most. We are fortunate to have our crew safe and no one on the ground injured. That's what Survival Flight is about. People, patients and our community", stated Andy Arthurs, Vice President of EMS Services, Survival Flight, Inc.
The helicopter had just received its license to fly in Oklahoma on Monday when Survival Flight officially opened its Lawton Base at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. Survival Flight, Inc, opened its Lawton Base at Comanche County Memorial Hospital on Monday, September 26, partnering with Comanche County Memorial Hospital and based on the rooftop helipad above the new Drewry Family Emergency Center. The aircraft the crew was flying in is a Bell 407, one of the safest airframes in the industry.
At the time of the incident, there was no patient on board. All four crew members were treated at the Drewry Family Emergency Center at CCMH and were released with only minor injuries. The FAA arrived on the scene at around 12 Noon and began their investigation with the full cooperation of the Survival Flight crew. While the incident is still under investigation, the aircraft was removed from the roadway on Gore Boulevard at approximately 4:30 p.m. and the road has been opened to traffic.
Survival Flight has been in operation for almost a decade in seven other locations without any prior incidents.
"We also want to take this time to thank Comanche County EMS, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, the Lawton Fire Department and the Lawton Police Department for their service and dedication surrounding today's events. In addition we want to thank all of our crew members, especially those onboard the aircraft in Lawton today for their professionalism and hard work", stated Arthurs.
With only a temporary disruption in services in Lawton, Survival Flight and Comanche County Memorial Hospital will continue to work together diligently to place another aircraft in the area as quickly as possible in order to serve the needs of the community. When services resume, they will be available 24/7/365, for both critical care level transport and emergency scene flights throughout Southwest Oklahoma.
Survival Flight Inc. is an Air Medical Flight Service, with Corporate headquarters in Mesa, Arizona which operates eight bases across Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois. The Lawton base is the first in Oklahoma.
In addition to partnering with Comanche County Memorial Hospital, they are also involved in regional initiatives such as the Surgical Extraction Team, which was formed to provide on-scene surgical services to patients who become entrapped in vehicle collisions, industrial machinery, or farming equipment.
A Bell 407 is the fastest model of medical helicopter in Oklahoma. Their aircraft is larger and has more lifting capacity than many other medical helicopters in the state, and has an extra seat in the patient compartment that allows a family member to accompany the patient to the hospital with them. This is a rarely-seen option in this region, and is of significant benefit as it promotes keeping families together even in the midst of life-threatening situations involving long distance transport. Survival Flight carries the most up-to-date medical equipment available, including a ReVel ventilator and a Zoll X-series cardiac monitor/defibrillator and is staffed 24/7 by a flight nurse, flight paramedic, and an experienced pilot. Many of the medical crew members have critical care certifications that are above and beyond what is required to perform their jobs, and some are dual-certified as both a nurse and a paramedic.