DREXEL HILL, Pa. (CBS) — Investigators want to know what brought down a medical helicopter in Drexel Hill on Tuesday that was bound for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The chopper that crashed outside of Drexel Hill United Methodist Church was placed on a flatbed and left just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday en route to Delaware. Starting Friday, it will be scrutinized as investigators try to figure out what happened in the skies over Drexel Hill.READ MORE: Abortion Rights Advocates Gather For Bans Off Our Bodies Protest In Philadelphia After SCOTUS Overturned Roe v. Wade
The helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon in front of the church on Burmont Road in Drexel Hill.
The chopper was on its way to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
The four people aboard, which included a 2-month-old baby, escaped before firefighters and police arrived. None suffered life-threatening injuries.
According to Upper Darby Township sources, the pilot’s identity is Danial Moore. He was seriously injured. The National Transportation Safety Board met with him on Wednesday, but Moore’s medical condition precluded them from continuing an interview. He is expected to be OK.
The NTSB is investigating to figure out what went wrong. They say the investigation could take up to a year or longer.
The NTSB has to analyze the electric components on the chopper and download them during the investigation. They also plan to be in touch with companies in the United States and around the globe who were familiar with the chopper.
“There are components on board that contain valuable data that we hope to capture and download,” said Brian Rayner, senior air safety investigator with the NTSB.
Officials from the FAA, NTSB and the manufacturer will look at everything from weather reports and air traffic communication at a secure site in Delaware, a process likely to span one year.
“An experienced investigator with technical expertise should be able to find one or two pieces that may have caused the crash and then investigate that,” aviation expert John Gagliano said.
Early reports suggest whatever happened did so quickly, with the pilot reporting trouble over Route 1.READ MORE: Brandywine Valley SPCA, Other Shelters Holding Mega Adoption Event This Weekend
“Route 1 is only a mile from the church so if a helicopter is going 100 miles an hour that doesn’t give the pilot much time,” Gagliano said.
Officials say it’s nothing short of miraculous that the chopper avoided a web of wires and buildings and that no one on the ground was injured.
The whining and groaning of something overhead was the first sign of trouble, which brought people out of their homes.
“I see a woman, who’s just stopped dead in her tracks in her car and she’s on the phone with 911 and she goes, ‘It’s a helicopter, it’s a helicopter,’” Alexa Sheeran said. “And I was just like, ‘What?’ I couldn’t wrap my head around what she was saying.”
The twin-engine civil airship dropped out of the sky — a landing so careful and meticulous, emergency officials believed the pilot pulled off a miracle.
New Video obtained by #CBS3 shows the point of impact when a medical helicopter crash-landed on Tuesday in Drexel Hill, Delaware County. Four people on board survived, sustaining what police described to be non-life-threatening injuries. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/DMaIVqinaK
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) January 12, 2022
Sheeran took a photo capturing heroes in action.
“I just see people helping each other, I see, no matter what, no matter who, there’s no right or left, there’s no religion, there’s no labels, it’s just people helping each other,” Sheeran said.
Jewel Singles was driving by immediately after the crash. She darted from her car to help at the scene.
“I stayed with the medic who had the baby, which was absolutely phenomenal of him,” Singles said. “One thing about EMS is the job is never over. You try your best to follow through and that is exactly what we did, kudos to that guy, I would love to shake his hand again.”
They say it takes a village in so many ways. And these folks — with that flight crew — came through.
“The neighbors were a godsend, it takes a village, and the village absolutely did what they had to do to protect these guys and the baby,” Singles said.
The road has since reopened to traffic.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Rally For Abortion Rights In Philadelphia With Democratic Gov. Nominee Josh Shapiro, Planned Parenthood
CBS3’s Joe Holden and Alicia Roberts contributed to this report.