A medical helicopter carrying an infant patient to a Philadelphia hospital crashed Tuesday afternoon next to a church in a densely populated residential neighborhood west of the city.
Neither the child nor the nurse and the helicopter crew were seriously injured.
“What you see behind me is an absolute miracle,” Upper Darby Police Chief 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. Bernhard said he wanted to shake hands with the pilot after the helicopter was shot down with little to no destruction.
Medivac’s tail, as medical helicopters are known, can be seen ripped off and folded under the cockpit. Emergency officials at the scene shortly before the 1 p.m. crash said the four people on board the helicopter had managed to escape from the wreckage before firefighters and police arrived.
Drexel Hill United Methodist Church on Burmont Street and Bloomfield Street appears to have escaped any damage in the immediate aftermath, as have many homes across the street. The scene is located about one mile from Upper Darby High School.
The infant was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when the helicopter crashed. The identities of the four people on board have not been established. It also remains unclear where the helicopter flight took off. An unconfirmed flight path showed that the plane was on its way from somewhere in western Pennsylvania.
Emergency officials at the scene said it was astonishing that the huge medical plane had crashed without causing major damage to any surrounding buildings or injuring any of the residents.
“We have been blessed as a community and as a fire department,” Thomas Sawyer, chief of fire department at Upper Darby, said at the scene.
This story is developing and will be updated.