Helicopter vs. Cornfield
I was working for a small town in West Central Indiana as an Emergency Medical Technician when I was dispatched to a rural area of the county for a helicopter crash. Although not technically a big disaster scene, in our area, a helicopter crash sends out huge alarms and brings out departments from all over the county. We ran to the ambulance and took off, and asked for more information so we could determine if an air ambulance was needed at the scene. Dispatch did not have any further information on the patients or the condition of the chopper.
We arrived at the scene where local fire personnel were all ready there. We looked out at the corn field, which had recently been harvested and was wide open to view, and what we saw as pure devastation. The only way we even knew this was a helicopter was because we were able to see one of the rotor blades that was mostly intact and sticking up out of the ground. The rest of the chopper was scattered around a large area in pieces no bigger than a kitchen sink.
We began talking to the fireman that approached us at our truck and I asked him, “Where are the bodies located?” He stated back to me, “they are smoking on the other side of the building.” Well, this was definitely a time when I was not looking forward to viewing those bodies. My partner and I took off walking and rounded the edge of a large barn. As we came around the corner, we see two people sitting on a small hill and they were each “smoking” a cigarette. My partner and I were both astonished to say the least.
We began checking both patients out, and discovered that neither one had any injuries at all. They told us the chopper was a ‘glass bubble chopper’. The kind that looks like a big bubble around the front, though this was impossible to tell from the wreckage. They stated they were in flight when the motor hitched once and failed completely. The chopper fell straight down from there and crashed into the field, breaking apart immediately.
When I asked them how it was possible they walked away, neither could answer and they were both just as amazed as we were. I explained that I was not a religious person, but they definitely had someone riding with them that day.
As an EMS worker, one of the most amazing things I’ve seen is the fact that a very minor accident can take a life, and yet sometimes people walk away from things that should have killed them. When it’s your time, it’s your time. It’s runs like this one that really make you think and really make you love your career in EMS.