McKeansburg, PA Medical Helicopter Crash, Apr 1982


McKeansburg, Pa. (UPI) -- A medical evacuation helicopter crashed in the rain shortly after takeoff from an auto crash site today, killing all four people aboard.
State police said the helicopter had picked up a critically injured victim of an automobile accident on Route 895, 1 mile southeast of McKeansburg about midnight.
Witnesses said the helicopter gained height, traveled about 500 yards, veered sharply downward and crashed into a field.
The dead pilot was identified as JIM LANDIS, 25, Quakertown, who flew for Keystone Helicopter Service of West Chester.
Also killed were the members of the medical crew from Allentown and Sacred Heart Hospital -- flight nurse JEANNETTE CHRIST, 35, of New Tripoli and flight medic PATRICIA A. RICCOBONO, 24, Allentown. The identity of the passenger was not released.
Police say the highway accident killed the driver, SCOTT DILLMAN, 19, of Orwigsburg. Several other passengers were taken to Pottsville Hospital. Police said the car had apparently been traveling at a high rate of speed, when it went out of control and hit a utility pole.
A spokeswoman at the Allentown Hospital said it was the first accident since the medical evacuation service started in May, 1981. CHRIST, who had been with the hospital since 1974, was one of the first nurses to join the new service. RICCOBONO had been with the hospital since January, the spokeswoman said.
State trooper Lawrence E. Lamanna said it was raining heavily at the time of the accident and the helicopter apparently exploded on impact.
No state police were at the scene, Lamanna said, but a patrol car was en route.

Logansport Pharos-Tribune Indiana 1982-04-28