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Damaged helivac chopper safely removed from UNMH roof

Updated: 04/12/2014 6:53 PM | Created: 04/12/2014 2:04 PM
By: Associated Press

(AP) - Authorities have removed the remnants of a medical helicopter that crashed earlier this week while taking off from the roof of New Mexico's only top-level trauma center.           

A small crowd gathered Saturday morning as a crane lowered the helicopter from the rooftop of University of New Mexico Hospital to the ground in Albuquerque.           

UNM spokesman Billy Sparks says the hospital remained fully operational during the process.

Sparks says the hospital temporarily converted to using power from an internal generator, eliminating the potential for any accidents ignited by outside power sources.

Sparks says a tail section was the first piece removed followed by jet fuel, which was channeled into special hazmat barrels, and then the helicopter's body.           

Officials are hoping to begin construction repairs to the roof by Saturday night.           

Sparks says the National Transportation Safety Board, however, still has control of the site as the agency continues its investigation.           

All medical helicopters have been instructed to land at Albuquerque's Presbyterian Hospital. 

Neither the pilot nor the two crew members on board during Wednesday's crash were seriously hurt.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Disabled PHI Air Medical helicopter is safely on the ground, after a crane lifted it from the roof of UNM Hospital Saturday
Photo: UNM

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