Medical helicopter crashes in Lee County; no serious injuries

A medical helicopter crashed in Lee County early Tuesday while landing to pick up a woman injured in a car wreck.

No one was seriously hurt in the helicopter crash, said Eugene Barrett, the county’s emergency manager.

However, the flight nurse and co-pilot went to a hospital to be evaluated for injuries. The pilot refused treatment, Barrett said.

The helicopter was responding to a car wreck in the St. Helens community east of Beattyville shortly after 5 a.m. A woman was thrown from her vehicle and seriously hurt in that crash.

Barrett said that as the helicopter maneuvered to land in a field, the pilot lost control. The helicopter flipped on its side and a small fire broke out, but firefighters were at the scene and quickly put out the blaze, Barrett said.

The helicopter was close to the ground when the accident happened. It is possible a downdraft of wind hit the craft, Barrett said.

“They were lucky they didn’t get killed,” Barrett said of the crew.

The woman who had been hurt in the car wreck was taken by ground ambulance to the medical center in Jackson.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were expected in Lee County Tuesday. That agency will determine the cause of the crash.