Friday, August 01, 2008

Hazards of the Job!

Its still hot as shit here. The thermometer in the aircraft hasn't dropped below 100 and I am starting to feel like a microwave dinner up there. Our base is located at a small rural hospital. The cath lab there is diagnostic only, so whenever there's blockage we get called to transport to a "real" interventional cath lab. This occurs on a pretty regular basis...almost like its own bus schedule!!! Some people are actually sick and go straight to the cath suite while others are just being taxied for a scheduled appt. Regardless.... "you call, we haul."

The last one of these we did was absolutely uneventful. Nice lady, beautiful (HOT) day. We were going to the airport to refuel when this motherfucker appeared....
He came from our 9 o'clock, on the same approach, dropped to our 8 o'clock and then started in for the same helipad we were. He was close enough that I could see the pilot and passenger... and they were not backing off. We made the *wise* decision to go around and let jackass go ahead and land since he obviously didn't know what the fuck he was doing.

I was mad as hell and told the medic NOT to let me be the first one out of the aircraft. He could have killed us all. The pilot (wisely) beat me over there and asked (probably WAY more tactfully than I) what had happened. The pilot had no idea that we were even there! Even though we call out our approach at 5,3 and 1 miles out, are SCREAMING YELLOW in color and he has a traffic warning system that far supersedes ours. He just didn't see us! I think he 1) wasn't looking 2) wasn't LISTENING and 3) really could give two shits either way. I took pictures to send to my boss with my 'Close Call Safety Report.'

We got a scene call later that evening. It was still a warm 99 and humid as hell. The firefighters had set up our LZ (landing zone) in a field across from the accident scene. A Ford Explorer Sport Trac had rolled several times and landed up against some trees. The patient was already out and we were to meet the ambulance which was parked next to our LZ at the woodline. During our briefing, fire mentioned that the grass in the field was "a little" high. Maybe 20 inches. (ok, lets get into the male idea of length here as it applies) 20 inches... you mean a little less than 2 feet, right? Cool, no problem. We land, I grab the bag and follow the medic out into the field. The grass..... a bit deeper than 2 feet. I'm about 5 feet on the nose and I DISAPPEARED into the grass. The medic has 12 inches height and a head start. I just kept running toward the trees with a 50lb bag on my back praying for no snakes and a machete!

The patient was a little banged up, but doing ok. I got my head start back to the (still running) helo and was able to snap this picture. I think it sums up my point of view!!!

The tail rotor was actually chopping weeds. Not really super safe. I guess these guys are going to need another LZ class.


Blogger Paradise Driver said...

Your close encounter was probably what happened in Flagstaff AZ.

11:21 PM  
Blogger mojitogirl said...

That's the kind of carelessness that gets people killed. Our chopper crew complains about that all the time, not when landing here, but when they're landing in Miami. We worry about them, since they're all friends and co-workers we see on a daily basis.

On a lighter note: TeenQueen is still away....tormenting her other family. She's in dance camp, has cousins in from all over, living la vida loca in Miami. I miss her's quiet, my floors are shiny, laundry and dishes have been cut by half. Yeah, I miss her....but she'll be back in a few weeks.

5:06 AM  

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