A medical helicopter carrying an infant patient to a Philadelphia hospital crashed Tuesday afternoon next to a church in a densely populated residential neighborhood just west of the city.
Neither the child nor a nurse and two crew members of the helicopter suffered life-threatening injuries.
“It’s an absolute miracle what you see behind me,” Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said at the scene. “No trees or power lines down.”
The crash site was next to the front steps of a church in the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Bernhardt said he wants to shake the pilot’s hand after bringing the helicopter down with so little destruction.
The tail of the medevac, as medical helicopters are known, could be seen torn off and folded underneath the cockpit. Emergency officials on scene shortly before the 1 p.m. crash said the four people on the helicopter were able to escape the wreckage before firefighters and police arrived.
The Drexel Hill United Methodist Church at Burmont Road and Bloomfield Avenue appeared to be spared any damage in the immediate aftermath of the crash, as did numerous houses across the street. The scene is about one mile from Upper Darby High School.
The infant patient was being taken to Children Hospital of Philadelphia when the helicopter went down. The identities of the four people onboard have not been identified. It also remains unclear where the helicopter’s flight originated. An unconfirmed flight path showed that the aircraft en route from somewhere in western Pennsylvania.
Emergency officials at the scene said it’s incredible that the massive medical aircraft crashed without substantial damage to any surrounding buildings or injuries to any residents.
“We’re blessed as a community and as a fire department,” Upper Darby Fire Chief Thomas Sawyer said at the scene.
This story is developing and will be updated.