- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

TALIHINA, Okla. (AP) - Federal investigators say the pilot of a medical helicopter that crashed two years ago in Oklahoma could have followed a different departure path before the fatal accident.

The EagleMed helicopter crashed into the Choctaw Nation Hospital in in June 2013, killing 49-year-old patient Michael David Wilson, of Bethel, and causing Tosha Whitmire to suffer critical injuries, The Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/1J07O7J ) reported.

The helicopter was destined for a Tulsa hospital and went down when the aircraft’s rotor blades struck a metal light pole during takeoff, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s factual report.

The pilot, who wasn’t identified in the report, said he didn’t see the 40-foot pole. He “could have used a different departure path, or followed company procedure to identify and climb above the highest obstacle before transitioning to forward flight,” the transportation safety board stated.

Pilots who are operating from a location that’s not an established airport are recommended to make a vertical HOGE, or Hover Out of Ground Effect, liftoff until clear of all obstacles and then proceed forward into a transitional lift, according to two experienced medical helicopter pilots in interviews with the board.

A video device in the cockpit didn’t record the flight, and EagleMed told the transportation safety board that it has begun routinely monitoring its video systems.

A probable cause report on the crash will be released later.

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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