Transplant Heart Survives Helicopter Crash


A pilot was slightly injured but a life was also saved in the aftermath of the crash of a helicopter on a rooftop hospital helipad on Friday. The Agusta A109S was carrying a human heart for transplant when it encountered trouble on landing at Keck Hospital of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The helicopter ended up on its side on the helipad and the pilot was hospitalized with minor injuries. The two people on the medical team accompanying the heart were not hurt at all and declined treatment. As for the heart, it’s unusual journey wasn’t quite over.

First responders managed to get at the organ in the wreck of the helicopter and deliver it to a member of the transplant team. That man tripped and fell while hurrying the organ to its new life. The heart hit the roof of the building before being scooped up and rushed to the operating room. Hospital spokeswoman Meg Aldrich said that despite the rough journey, the heart wasn’t hurt and was stitched into the recipient two hours after the crash and tumble. “It’s actually an amazing story,” she said.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Wow, really good news that the very valuable organ came through undamaged. I hope the recipient has a much less dramatic recovery. He or she will certainly have some interesting stories to tell about the surgery.