ALEXANDRIA, Minn. (WCCO) – Three crew members of a medical helicopter are in the hospital Saturday after an overnight crash.
It happened around 2 a.m. near the Alexandria Municipal Airport.
The unidentified crew members are employees of North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the crew was en route to pick up a patient when the crash happened.
Austin Hanson, 18, was at home in his quiet Alexandria neighborhood early Saturday morning when he heard something strange.
“I’ve heard helicopters before but this one sounded different,” Hanson said. “I knew something crazy was going to happen.”
A medical helicopter suddenly crashed in Chandler Field, about 100 yards from the residential area.
“I looked out my window and I saw a green light and then I saw sparks everywhere,” Hanson said.
Hanson called 911. He ran to the scene as he heard a crew member screaming for help.
“The top of the helicopter is gone, so it’s amazing that they are alive,” he said.
Hanson and another neighbor helped free a crew member from his helmet that was jammed. Once help arrived three crew members – part of North Memorial’s team – were eventually transported back to the hospital for care.
In a statement, North Memorial said in part:
“The families of our three helicopter crew members who were injured earlier today would like to thank the community for their outpouring of support.”
Hanson said the field was extremely foggy when the crash happened and that he is amazed the helicopter did not hit any homes.
“I think he did a good job,” Hanson said. “He’s a hero.”
Roads remain blocked in the residential area near the site.
The FAA is investigating the crash. The three crew members remain in critical condition.