April 17, 2013

Lifeflight helicopter still stuck in Cumberland field

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

CUMBERLAND — A Lifeflight helicopter that had to make a forced landing on a field in Cumberland after an engine warning light came on Tuesday night won’t be flown again until investigators are certain the aircraft is safe to fly.

Melissa Arndt, spokeswoman for the Lifeflight Foundation in Camden, said Wednesday that the helicopter will remain on the field between Winn Road and Cross Road for at least another day or two while mechanics inspect the craft.

It may be cleared for takeoff or it may have to be loaded onto a trailer and moved by land, Arndt said.

“LifeFlight operates twin engine helicopters for just this reason,” LifeFlight’s Executive Director Thomas Judge said in a press release. “If the pilot receives a warning that something could be wrong with one engine, he doesn’t continue with forward flight. Instead he looks for the closest spot to safely land the aircraft where it can be inspected and evaluated.”

Arndt said Federal Aviation Administration representatives and Era Helicopters, which operates and maintains the helicopters for LifeFlight, have been unable to identify any mechanical failures in the craft.

The helicopter was forced to land in a field around 5:30 p.m. after alerting the air-traffic control tower at the Portland International Jetport that its master caution light had been activated.

The helicopter, which had just dropped a patient off at Maine Medical Center in Portland, landed safely and none of the three people on board were injured.

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