Facebook Twitter

Helicopter crash at hospital kills pilot and nurse

SHARE Helicopter crash at hospital kills pilot and nurse

CLEVELAND — A helicopter crashed just after taking off from the roof of a Cleveland hospital today, killing two people and seriously injuring another, officials said.

The helicopter slammed into an unoccupied car at University Hospitals of Cleveland and broke into pieces, with only the tail recognizable in the twisted wreckage. Witnesses reported loud explosions and large flames shooting into the air after the crash.

"The smoke just engulfed the whole building — it was seven stories high. People started running out of the hospital," said Natatia Lin, 24, who lives about 300 feet from the hospital and felt the explosions.

The pilot and a nurse were killed, said Lt. Sharon MacKay, a police spokeswoman. A 29-year-old medic, whose name was not released, suffered burns over 25 percent his body and was listed in serious condition at MetroHealth Medical Center, a nursing supervisor said.

Hospital spokesman Eric Sandstrom did not know what caused the crash, but said the crew was heading to another hospital to pick up a patient. He said the crash occurred at about 12:30 a.m.

"I heard it sputter first, and it started losing altitude, then I heard 'Boom!' " said patient Kevin Chandler, who watched from a ninth-floor hospital window and later ran outside in 20-degree weather.