MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The paramedic who survived a deadly helicopter crash says he’s taking his recovery “one step at a time.”
Josh Duda, the lone survivor of a medical helicopter crash last month at the Brainerd airport, posted on his CaringBridge site Saturday, saying he’s come a long way in the last three weeks.
“Three weeks ago today, I woke up in the ICU. Today, I woke up in inpatient rehab. There have been plenty of ups and downs the past three weeks, but more ups than downs. It is difficult to look back and see how far I have come in just the past three weeks. The road in front of me is still a long one, but we will continue on this path one step at a time. The support we have received from every direction has been unbelievable. Calls, texts, yard work, visits, cards, messages, prayers, you name it! For all of it, we thank you!”
The crash killed both North Memorial Health nurse Deb Schott and pilot Tim McDonald. Duda told federal investigators after the crash that the crew could see the runway surface and lights beneath a thin layer of fog. He said McDonald noted the weather conditions and said they would need to go around to land. Duda said the helicopter then spun to the right and hit the ground.
Ground scars indicated the main and tail rotors were turning when it hit.
The hospital’s helicopter fleet, which was grounded following the crash, was cleared by the FAA to resume operations on July 2. The choppers began flying again July 12.