What to do in a helicopter crash rescue?


Posted at Mar 05 2020 01:00 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2020 01:14 PM

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MANILA - In a helicopter crash, minutes may make the difference between life and death.

Speaking in the aftermath of a helicopter crash involving top police officials in San Pedro City, Laguna, a rescue and survival expert gave a rundown on what first responders should do in similar incidents.

First, passengers should be rapidly extracted inside a downed helicopter because of the risk of explosion due to fuel leak, said Dr. Ted Esguerra of the International Disaster Response Network.

Rescuers should enter the cockpit at 12 o'clock as reference point. If the passengers are unconscious, their straps could be cut if they can't be detached, he added.

In removing the passengers, the head and neck of each passenger should be supported, Esguerra added.

"Ang hawak mo nasa kili-kili. Para 'yong ulo t'saka leeg, medyo makokontrol mo kung the patient is unconscious," he said.

(You grab by the armpits, so the head and neck you can control, especially if the patient is unconscious.)

The victims should then be transported immediately to the nearest hospital.

Rapid extraction should also be implemented because inhaling toxic fumes from the crash is dangerous, Esguerra said.

Among things to consider in a rescue include the height from which the helicopter crashed, the type of aircraft, and the number of passengers on board, among others.

On Thursday morning, a helicopter carrying Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Archie Gamboa and 7 others crashed in San Pedro, Laguna.

The aircraft was on its way to Camp Vicente Lim in neighboring Calamba town when it snagged a power line shortly after takeoff.

Those on board survived but two are critical.