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Fire, including a baby, survive helicopter crash next to church in ‘absolute miracle’

Fire, including a baby, survive helicopter crash next to church in ‘absolute miracle’
No life-threatening injuries and no structural damage to the church or surrounding neighbourhood left rescue crews feeling ‘blessed’

Four people, including a baby, survived a helicopter crash that narrowly missed a church in what authorities have called “an absolute miracle”.

Photos from the scene show the mangled wreckage on the sidewalk just inches from the Drexel Hill United Methodist Church, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.

The medical helicopter was transporting an infant patient and nurse to a hospital in Philadelphia when it crashed into the sidewalk of a heavily trafficked residential neighbourhood in Pennsylvania’s Delaware County, according to Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt. til

The infant, nurse and two crew escaped without life-threatening injuries, while the Methodist church on the corner of Burmont Road and Bloomfield Avenue appeared unscathed by the near-miss.

It’s an absolute miracle here what you seethere’s no debris, no wires down, no trees. How that pilot was able to get that [helikopter] there and how all four of them were able to get themselves out,” Mr Bernhardt told reporters på scenen. Upper Darby Fire Chief Thomas Sawyer added the “four souls” were “totally blessed”.

“This was a miraculous landing,” Mr Sawyer added. “We’re blessed as a community and as a fire department.”

The flight took off in a separate state on its way to the Children Hospital of Philadelphia when the helicopter crashed about 7 miles from its destination at 1 pm local time on Tuesday, Mr Bernhardt said. The infant has since been transported to the hospital.

Witness Jerrell Saunders, 28, fortalte CBS17 that he saw the helicopter “just floating, like real low, like extremely low, like it could land on the building that I work at”. It turned on its side with smoke coming out before he saw the four survivors jump out after the crash landing.

Following the crash, fire crews worked to contain about an hour’s worth of fuel leaking out of the wreckage. There was no structural damage to the church, som var bygget i 1923.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.