Image: Taken from Native 5 Facebook page
On 15 December, a Native Air AS350 B3 helicopter operated by Air Methods crashed in Arizona, US, killing two of the three crew members: pilot David Schneider and flight nurse Chad Frary. There was no patient onboard.
In a statement, Air Methods said: “We are deeply saddened by the news that two of our crew members were taken from us, and our hearts go out to their family and loved ones.”
Air Methods spokesperson Christina Brodsly told reporters that the accident occurred in mountains outside Phoenix. According to Pinal County Sheriff Pal Babeu, the aircraft was en route from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to Globe.
After the helicopter was reported missing, a search effort was launched that included a second Native Air helicopter and an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter. The Native Air crew were the first to locate the crash site as flight paramedic Derek Boehm, who survived the incident, used a light to signal his position. According to reports, neither the Native Air nor the Arizona DPS helicopter could land at the site due to rugged terrain, but two Native Air personnel were dropped nearby. Boehm was later taken to a trauma centre in Phoenix by a US Air Force helicopter.
A fundraising page set up at gofundme.com to help Boehm with medical expenses describes how the former marine suffered a broken back and two broken femurs in the accident. The statement continues: “Despite his extensive injuries, he provided aid and support to his partner, until his partner died, while waiting to be rescued.”
Two members of the Pinal County Sheriff Office were airlifted the next morning to secure the scene and recover the deceased crew members.