Life Flight resumes helicopter service

The Associated Press on Wednesday, June 18

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Life Flight's sole remaining helicopter has resumed flying nine days after another helicopter crashed during a rescue, killing pilot Brent Cowley.

The first call for the medical helicopter came about 2 p. m. Monday. The flight crew transferred a patient from Logan Regional Hospital to LDS Hospital, where the chopper is based.

The crew is "dealing with it privately today. They wanted to start up quietly and focus on the job at hand," said LDS Hospital spokesman Jess Gomez.

On June 7, Life Flight was called to pluck a dehydrated hiker from Mount Olympus.

The crew used a hoist to drop the woman off at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Cowley, 49, took off once the patient was on the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the tail rotor fell apart after take-off. The Agusta K-2 helicopter fell 600 feet, crashing in the foothills on the east side of Salt Lake Valley.

Cowley was killed immediately. Flight nurse Denise Ward and paramedic Brian Allred suffered minor injuries.

The key piece of the tail rotor, called the trunnion, was found by search crews Saturday about 1,000 feet from the crash site.

The crash was the second fatal helicopter accident for the Intermountain Health Care's Life Flight.

On Jan. 10, a helicopter crashed in thick fog off Interstate 80 near the Salt Lake International Airport, killing the pilot and paramedic.