Watch CBS News

Full Service Operation Begins On New Maryland State Police Chopper

FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) – The safety net for Maryland's sick and injured just got wider with the first full service mission operation of one of the state's new medical helicopters.

Pat Warren reports on one patient's lifesaving experience.

Answering calls for help when every minute matters, Marylanders rely on the response of Trooper 3, the state police medevac helicopters.

"Today's a great day for the Maryland State Police, but it's not just for us," said Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Marcus Brown.

It's for people like Matt Wiles, injured in a fall two years ago. He met the pilots he credits with saving his life for the first time Tuesday.

"I came and I wanted to meet you guys," Wiles said.

He's putting faces to the names he tattooed on his arm in appreciation of the life-saving efforts of Maryland State Police.

"I can count on one hand in 30 years how many people have come and said thank you," said pilot Russ Zullick. "It's what we do. It's a testament to me...the amount of punishment the human body can take."

Maryland has taken a step toward easing the pain of that punishment with the fastest in its class, biggest cabin space and most extensively trained emergency medical service teams on the new AW-139 medevacs, which meet or exceed all the latest safety requirements.

"The star above the badge on the tailfin of this helicopter was placed there in memory of all the members of the Maryland medical services teams who have given the ultimate sacrifice," Brown said. "We will remember them by using these aircraft to continue saving lives and making Maryland safer."

Pilots Lance Shank and Russ Zullick represent the men and women who save those of us like Matt Wiles, who took the ride of his life.

A second AW-139 team goes into operation later this month.

The new helicopters will be flying around the clock on all aviation command missions.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.