Aircraft Rescue Firefighters


Whatever works. The San Antonio Express-News reports a medical helicopter missing one of its landing skids made an emergency "soft landing' on a stack of mattresses at San Antonio International Airport early Sunday morning.

The chopper was flying from Bryan to the San Antonio Military Medical Center, but it was diverted to the airport when the pilot clipped the top of a cellphone tower and lost one of the skids.

A helicopter can't land safely with a missing skid, so the pilot asked firefighters on the ground if they could find something "soft" he could land on.  The firefighters placed several mattresses from their fire station dorm on the landing pad, and the pilot put it down perfectly.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, and the pilot has some explaining to do.  He should write a note to himself to be more watchful for cellphone towers.  Those things are everywhere.

The helicopter is owned by Petroleum Helicopters Inc. of Louisiana, and is leased by St. Joseph's Regional Health Center in Bryan.  PHI also owns the helicopter leased by Memorial Medical Center in Lufkin.