Mercy Flight WNY will resume operations Saturday for the first time since the helicopter crash | Local News

Mercy Flight WNY announced it would resume regular operations at 7 a.m. Saturday for the first time since the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Mercy Flight Pilot James E. Sauer and Bell Flight Pilot Stewart Mr. Dietrick on April 26.

“Part of the collective heart of Mercy Flight has changed forever, but we know our patients still need us,” Mercy Flight President Margaret Ferrentino said Friday. “It is our duty and our honor to work alongside our partners to be there for those in need of air ambulance service, and we know, without a doubt, that getting back in the air to help them is what Jim would like us to do.”

Mercy Flight WNY suspended operations immediately after the Elba crash. The accident, which happened during a training mission, is still under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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Scott Wooton, executive vice president of Mercy Flight WNY, described how the organization handled the emotional toll of the past 10 days.

“We have spent every minute since last Tuesday’s tragic accident ensuring that all members of our team are properly cared for and confirming that our two remaining helicopters are completely safe and in good working order,” Wooton said. . “Extensive in-house and third-party maintenance inspections have indicated that the N506TJ and N508TJ are fully functional and ready to resume their vital work.”

Mercy Flight’s helicopter inventory has been cut in half over the past seven months. Prior to April’s fatal crash, another of Mercy Flight’s Bell 429 helicopters was damaged beyond repair after crashing at Genesee County Airport in October.

Mercy Flight Central, the nearby Canandaigua-based emergency medical helicopter service, temporarily took over responsibility for the western New York branch on April 28. In its statement, Mercy Flight WNY thanked Mercy Flight Central for its backup efforts.

Ben Tsujimoto can be reached at [email protected], (716) 849-6927 or on Twitter at @Tsuj10.

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