Seattle copter crash hits home for local flight community



Posted on March 18, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 18 at 7:01 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--The helicopter crash in Seattle that killed a pilot and photo-journalist Tuesday hit home for the Spokane flight community.

People at Felts Field in Spokane said they spend hours each week in the air. They said no matter how many times they fly, they never miss a safety check.

David Sewell, a flight nurse for MedStar, said he spends about 150 hours each year in the air. He transports patients to and from hospitals.

"One crew member sits here behind the patient's head and a crew member sits alongside the patient,” said Sewell.

He said he has only had one close call in 26 years. He recalled a night when his crew flew into fog.

“We lost ground contact and they directed us in for our landing,” said Sewell.

Sewell said news of the helicopter crash in Seattle on Tuesday reminded him of the dangers of his job.

"It's tragic and our condolences go out to the family friends to the co-workers. You don't want to see that happen in any industry,” said Sewell.

He said he focuses on accident prevention.

"As soon as the tones go off, I go out to the helicopter. We all do walk arounds,” said Sewell.

Sewell said he and his pilot check the helicopter for any signs of trouble before every flight. He said they also assess the weather for visibility.

"On a snowy day, you don't see us flying. We'll be going by ground, critical care ambulance,” said Sewell.

He said they watch out for other aircrafts and are careful about where they land.

"We are looking at wires, poles, anything like that,” said Sewell.

Pilot Tim Tueth said he takes safety measures very seriously at his flight school.

“There's always hazards and it's so easy to miss a detail. Just overlook a simple thing and it could be the end,” said Tueth.

Pilots KREM 2 News spoke with said accidents are rare. They said they know the risks they are taking every time they take off. They said they are not worried though because they do everything they can to prevent one.

“If you were nervous on every flight, you probably wouldn't be in this career,” said Tueth.