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'New, Safer' Medical Helicopters Launch In Colorado Years After Crash That Killed Pilot Patrick Mahany

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Three Med Evac Bell helicopters that were operating in Colorado have been replaced with new models, years after the crash that killed Flight for Life pilot Patrick Mahany. Mahany lived long enough to tell his wife Karen he loved her while in the emergency department, but died shortly after.

Patrick Mahany
Patrick Mahany (credit: CBS)

Dave Repsher was also on board the flight on that fateful day in 2015 when the medical helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff at the hospital in Frisco.

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Flight for Life helicopter crash in 2015. (credit: CBS)

Repsher suffered burns to 90 percent of his body but survived after dozens of surgeries and years of rehabilitation.

"Med-Trans and Banner Health replaced its fleet of three Med Evac Bell helicopters with Airbus H125 model helicopters serving our bases in Boulder, Greeley, and Akron as well as surrounding areas," officials with Banner Health announced earlier in December. "Now Northern Colorado residents can rest easy knowing that those helicopters are the safest possible, thanks to a partnership with Banner Health and Med-Trans."

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(credit: Banner Health)

"Med Evac's fleet is on of the first full fleets in Colorado to be fitted with the latest – and government recommended – elements to enhance safety for the crews and people who fly with them," officials stated online.

According to the website, safety features include:

  • Terrain alert warning system (TAWS)
  • Dual hydraulics
  • Crash worthy fuel tank
  • Night vision goggles (NVGS)
  • Crash worthy pilot seat
  • Multi-Function Display (MFD) for weather
  • Primary Flight Display (PFD) for instantaneous instrument readings and dual GPS
  • Satellite tracking
  • Radar altimeters
  • Traffic alert and collision avoidance systems
  • Jettisonable doors
  • Fire detection system

"...the features focus on preventing fires after a crash and preventing injuries to the best extent possible to people on board," officials stated. "These measures were the target of federal legislation and a focus for many of Colorado's elected leaders. Med-Trans and Banner are committed to providing the safest fleet possible for the pilot, flight nurse and paramedic who respond to each call and the patients they transport."

RELATED: Fallen Flight For Life Pilot Patrick Mahany Honored With Post Office Renaming

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