Helicopter crash investigation underway

Published 8:08 am Tuesday, August 2, 2022

An investigation is underway into a medical helicopter crash in Andalusia Friday afternoon.

The AS 350 helicopter was a Life Saver aircraft based in Evergreen and, according to officials, was on its way to Andalusia Health. There was not a patient on board when the helicopter crashed. The three people on board were the pilot and two EMTs.

Two victims were taken by ambulance to Andalusia Health and one of those was later airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. The third person was airlifted from the scene to Sacred Heart.

No official updates regarding the passengers’ conditions could be confirmed on Monday.

According to officials with the City of Andalusia, the Federal Aviation Agency and Airbus — the manufacturer of the helicopter — are conducting investigations.

“Our team will cooperate fully with their efforts to assess the cause of this unfortunate accident. Privacy rights with regards to those on board the aircraft will be honored, and we will not be sharing any additional information,” said Denisse Coffman, vice president of communications with Air Methods.

Some witnesses at the scene believe the helicopter experienced mechanical problems based on the pilot’s efforts to avoid a house before crashing onto Packer Field.

The helicopter brought down several power lines along Packer Avenue, beginning at the intersection of Church Street. Crews with the City of Andalusia worked Friday night to restore power to the area.

The initial call regarding the crash came in at approximately 2 p.m. First responders quickly set up a perimeter around the craft as medical personnel treated the injured.

Coincidentally, the Friends of Army Aviation was set up at the opposite corner of Packer Field providing rides on a Vietnam-era UH-1H helicopter. The helicopter that crashed was not part of the Friends of Army Aviation activities.