The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 19, 2013

Medical helicopter hauled away for repairs

By Karen Blackledge
The Daily Item

— DANVILLE — A medical helicopter has been available for calls at Geisinger Medical Center since mid-afternoon Friday after a helicopter was damaged the day before when it clipped a marker flag.

The damaged helicopter was removed from the helipad Monday by a crane and transported by a trailer, pulled by a truck, to a Uniflight repair facility, which is a Federal Aviation Administration repair facility for Eurocopters, at Reading Regional Airport, said Geisinger spokesman Michael Ferlazzo.

Ferlazzo said the repairs to one side of the main rotor are expected to be completed in about two weeks. He didn’t have a damage estimate Monday. The helicopter has four main rotors.

The damaged craft was removed by a crane, but not the same crane that had the marker flag on it near the annex at the hospital’s main campus, he said.

After hitting the flag, which was about 100 feet from the ground, the helicopter was able to land safely with a patient on board.

The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and is working with the FFA, Ferlazzo said. Geisinger also is conducting an internal investigation.

The program operates one helicopter per base site with a backup craft typically stored at the main campus, he said.