Firefighter dies in fall from Delaware State Police helicopter

A Delaware State Police helicopter (Photo: Delaware Free News)
A Delaware State Police helicopter (Photo: Delaware Free News)

UPDATED STORY: NTSB issues preliminary report in death of Delaware firefighter Tim McClanahan

UPDATED STORY: Police release name of firefighter killed in fall from helicopter

GEORGETOWN, DELAWARE (7/11/2016) A 46-year-old Lewes firefighter died this evening after a fall from a Delaware State Police helicopter during a training exercise, authorities said.

The accident happened about 6:45 p.m. at Delaware Coastal Airport near Georgetown.

A pilot and trooper medic were aboard the helicopter as well as two volunteer firefighters, state police Sgt. Richard Bratz said.

“As one of the firefighters stepped out onto the skid of the helicopter he fell from an undetermined height onto a grassy area below the aircraft. At that point the helicopter landed and the trooper medic and volunteer firefighter on board as well as nearby volunteer firefighters rushed over to the fallen victim and immediately rendered medical assistance,” Bratz said.

Sussex County paramedics and Emergency Medical Services took the man to Beebe Healthcare’s hospital in Lewes, where he was pronounced dead.

Bratz said the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident with assistance from state police.

The firefighter’s name was withheld by police pending notification of next-of-kin.

The Lewes Fire Department announced on its Facebook page: “It is with deep, deep regret that the Officers and Members of the Lewes Fire Department announce the passing of one of our own earlier today. Further details on remembrance services are to follow.”

Bratz said the training exercise involved the Delaware Air Rescue Team, which is comprised of volunteer firefighters from throughout the state and troopers assigned to the state police Aviation Unit.