Air transport on hold after St. Louis Children's Hospital helico - KMOV.com

Air transport on hold after St. Louis Children's Hospital helicopter crash

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New Children's Hospital helicopter (Credit: KMOV) New Children's Hospital helicopter (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Plans to roll out two new helicopters for St. Louis Children’s Hospital critical care transport team are on hold after a crash over the weekend.

Saturday night, a St. Louis Children’s Hospital helicopter went down northwest of Perryville in Perry County. There were four adults and a child on board. All were treated for minor injuries. Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the crash.

A spokesperson for the hospital told News 4 after the crash the critical care transport team temporarily suspended service “to allow members time to process what was certainly a scary situation for them.”

She said ground transports resumed Monday morning at 5 a.m. but air transports will resume at a yet-to-be-determined time.

The team had planned to launch two new EC 145 helicopters Monday. That is now postponed. The new helicopters have a little more room to work inside and can fly further before needing to refuel. The most significant upgrade is new isolettes, which is the special equipment used to transport babies.

The team has been training on the new equipment for weeks.

“The radio system is entirely different. Programming the radio, being able to communicate with the ground, with outside hospitals will be different for them,” said Brandie Tieken, manager for the critical care transport team at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “The loading of our equipment will be different. We will have new stretchers and isolettes that will be loaded into the helicopter in a little bit of a different way.”

The helicopters are staffed by a pilot and three crew members. They are designed to transport patients ranging from preemie babies to teens and care for them en route to the hospital.

“It is probably the most difficult thing I have done in my EMS career,” said Jacob Koerber, a flight paramedic. “The patients are very, very small, and require specific treatments and equipment. I learn something new every day at work.”

The team has been using the current fleet for about 10 years.

“They are helicopters whose fleet is just aging. They are a good helicopter. We put out team in duel engine because it has a greater lift capacity and we can take a team of three with a heavy isolate. We wanted to stay with a duel engine for lift capacity but graduate old aircraft out,” said Tieken.

One of the new helicopters will eventually be based out of downtown St. Louis. The other will be parked in Farmington at Parkland Medical Center.

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