Delaware Firefighter Dies in Fatal Helicopter Fall, Police Say

By Jim Liao, Epoch Times
July 12, 2016 Updated: July 12, 2016    

The death of a Delaware firefighter who fell from a helicopter during a training exercise was announced by Delaware State Police on July 11.

The man, identified as 46-year-old Tim McClanahan of Lewes, was one of two volunteer firefighters on board the helicopter, along with a pilot and trooper medic. The group was doing a routine training exercise conducted every 30 days with the Delware Air Rescue Team (DART), an organization comprised of volunteer firefighters and troopers throughout the state.

When McClanahan stepped out onto the helicopter’s skid, he fell from an undetermined height onto a grassy area below the helicopter. After the fall, the pilot immediately landed the helicopter, and those on board, along with nearby volunteer firefighters, rushed over to provide medical assistance.

Paramedics and emergency rescue later arrived on the scene and transferred McClanahan to Beebe Healthcare, where he was pronounced dead.

A Facebook post on the Lewes Fire Department’s Facebook page expressed condolences for the fallen fire fighter.

Delaware State Police note that the investigation is in its early stages and that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will lead further investigation.

The State Police said in a statement:

During the training exercise a pilot and trooper medic were on board along with the two volunteer fire fighters. As one of the fire fighters stepped out onto the skid of the helicopter he fell from an undetermined height onto a grassy area below the aircraft. At that point the helicopter landed and the trooper medic and volunteer fire fighter on board as well as nearby volunteer fire fighters rushed over to the fallen victim and immediately rendered medical assistance.

Sussex County Paramedics and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and transported the 46 year old male of Lewes to Beebe Healthcare where he was pronounced deceased.

The investigation is in the early stages and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be the lead investigative agency with the assistance of the Delaware State Police. At this point the name of the fire fighter will be withheld pending notification of next of kin.