Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beechcraft down!

Last night I was sitting in front on my blog about to write a post about how I feel like I am the definition of a white cloud. I've now been working for a week after I came back from my vacation and the number of patients I've seen is less than the count of finger on one hand. I kid you not.
Granted right now I'm rotating through one of the slower stations and I enjoy sleeping through the night, but seriously five patients?!

I was going to write how some colleagues go through more than that during a single shift, much less a week. And how they're called black clouds or shit magnets, and whatnot.

But then today at some point it started getting pretty hectic on the radio and we were sent to the Wiesbaden Army Airfield. A US Army installation and one of six major hubs for US forces in Europe. If material or troops are sent to of from the sandbox, chances are it will come through Wiesbaden AAF. Relations between us, the host nation's emergency services, and the US Army are great. Only a few days ago we had our combined annual emergency preparedness drill (click for pics - in German), where we train realistic mass casualty scenarios. I've always wondered when or if there would be a real incident at WAAF. We often do, in fact. Today I was about to find out...

A little after 1530 hrs we got dispatched to WAAF with initial reports of an airplane crash. Situation at first was unclear and MCI protocols were put in place. The call that I have been kind of waiting for was now happening. For real. Boy was I not prepared for this one... but are you really ever prepared for this kind of call? As we sped to the scene my heart was pounding, heart rate through the roof. I went through MCI SOPs in my head, put on my neat orange MCI identification vest (they state the number of your unit and your function) and prayed this wouldn't be The Big One. Big time pucker factor. When reached the area I was on the lookout for a pillar of smoke and other signs that something was out of the ordinary, but I was just a sunny summer day, like any other.

We turned a corner and all of a sudden the fields in front of WAAF where in full view. In the distance I could make out a small-ish propeller plane in on of them. No smoke, no flames, just a plane in the middle of a cornfield. Like a sitting duck. An oddly peaceful picture. The first fire engines pull up simultaneously, one other ambulance was already on scene. I swiftly spoted a staging area for EMS and advised the following units to make their way there. I had my EMT partner and paramedic intern grab our gear, while I ran, yes I ran - can't remember the last time I actually ran to a scene, to the other ambulance which was parked pretty close to the aircraft. After a short conversation with the other in-charge medic it turns out there were only two people involved, pilot and co-pilot, and both were fine. The pilot didn't have a scratch on him and the co-pilot merely cut his thumb on a sharp plastic edge of his broken control stick.

Phew! What a relief! No one seriously hurt. I cancelled all other EMS units, apart from EMS command. By now the scene was getting pretty crowded, our FD, the US Army Airfield FD, Army, German Police, Military Police, even the press where already there and everyone wanted a piece of the action...well... which turned out to be no action at all. The pilots of the Beechcraft RC-12 recon aircraft were in a strangely good mood and most worried about their sunglasses and iPhones (which they later used to document their mishap). The co-pilot mumbled something about how he "couldn't get it up", while the pilot praised the safety of their seatbelts. Apparently they had just started from WAAF for a training flight and, for reasons yet unknown, had to park their Beechcraft in the field a few minutes later. Not quite a hudson landing, but impressive and quite an archievement nonetheless. This could have ended so much worse...

Once everyone on scene there was no casualties, everyone grabbed their cameraphones and started firing away. A colleague of mine made some pretty cool shots for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Medical Commander (Physician in-charge) and I.

Me and the medic from the other crew.

The crews :-)

"Can I keep it?! Pretty please!!!"

More pictures available here. Courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. No fire, no injuries. It looks like they just put the nose up and plopped down.

    I guess you could say this was a good plane crash. Good as in, not bad. Which would mean good.