About Coconino County

About Coconino County

Encompassing 18,661 square miles, Coconino County, Arizona, is the second largest county in the U.S. but one of the least populated. Our county includes Grand Canyon National Park, the Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi Indian Reservations, and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. Elevations range from 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to 12,633 feet at the summit of Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff.

July 6, 2008

Helicopter Collision Update

As it turns out, I never returned to the crash site after the night I spent helping with security. The National Transportation Safety Board arrived the following day, and they had a private security company take over. Search & Rescue volunteers were off duty by 5pm on Monday, the day after the mid-air collision, though we were paged again on Tuesday to assist with the search for evidence--for pieces of a rotor that had not yet been located. Having gone out on a search on Monday night for a lost hiker on the Huckaby Trail in Sedona, I was not able to respond to that evidence search.

By Thursday, July 3rd, all of the wreckage from the two helicopters had been collected and loaded on flatbed trailers to be hauled to a secure site in Phoenix. On Thursday, July 4th, the injured flight nurse from the Classic crew, the only one alive after the crash, died at Flagstaff Medical Center. A public memorial service for all seven victims--the five crew from both helicopters and the two patients they were transporting--will be held this coming Tuesday at 10am at the Pine Mountain Amphitheater.

According to an article today in the Arizona Daily Sun, medical transport helicopters en route to Flagstaff Medical Center communicate with a Guardian dispatcher at Pulliam Airport, not with anyone at the hospital or with one another, and most of the transmissions are regarding the status of patients on board. The dispatcher then relays information, including expected arrival time, to the hospital. Simultaneous approaches to the hospital are prohibited.

And that's about all I have to report about the crash at this time. I'll have an entry about the lost hiker on the Huckaby Trail in the next few days.
If interested in reading journals of my long-distance hikes, please visit: http://www.hikingwriter.com/

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