NORTH BOSTON, NY – A Mercy Flight air ambulance helicopter lost a door in mid-flight Sunday evening, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in a Hamburg field, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official we contacted.
Mercy Flight spokesperson Margie Ferrentino told us that the Olean-based crew was returning to base at about 5:45 p.m. after transporting a patient to Buffalo when a nurse on board noticed the door coming open. The pilot slowed the aircraft but it appears the wind caught the door and pulled it from its track.
The pilot was able to bring the craft safely to the ground, landing at about 6:10 p.m.
Ferrentino says that some damage was done to the helicopter's main rotors after being hit by the door. She said the Mercy Flight maintenance team is assessing the damage and trying to determine a cause.
In a document obtained by 2 On Your Side from the FAA, the helicopter, a BK 117 A-4, was said to be manufactured in Germany and was first air tested in 1987. It was re-certified to fly by the FAA in July 2013.
The door was recovered from the ground in the vicinity of Herman Hill Road in North Boston. No one was hurt.