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Bird strike grounds Duke medical helicopter

Posted November 9, 2009

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— A Duke University Medical Center helicopter was damaged Sunday when it collided with a bird while returning from Virginia, officials said.

The Duke Lifeflight helicopter had picked up a patient in Danville, Va., and was on its way back to Durham when a chicken hawk flew into the tail of the aircraft and damaged it, officials said.

The pilot landed safely in a Yanceyville neighborhood, and neither the patient nor anyone on the helicopter's crew was injured in the incident, officials said. Duke called UNC Hospitals for assistance, and another helicopter flew out to pick up the patient for the rest of the flight to Durham.

Maintenance workers were sent to Caswell County on Monday to repair the damage so the helicopter could return to Durham, officials said.


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  • mike honcho Nov 9, 2009

    Why do I have visions of Fog Horn Leg Horn being drug away strapped to roller skates?

  • DougWare.NET Nov 9, 2009

    This is only ONE of three (I believe) of Duke's birds...

  • TriangleMommy Nov 9, 2009

    Holy cow - I opened up the picture because the smaller one was kinda hard to see - and the bird ripped a HOLE in the tail section. Amazing that everyone is safe.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Nov 9, 2009

    Must be fiberglass. Hard to imagine a large bird tearing through an aluminum tail fin. But I guess its possible depending on the speed.

  • Skywatch_NC Nov 9, 2009

    What kind of material is a helicopter's tail section made of anyway?

  • Kriterian Nov 9, 2009

    Anyone else picture cardinals walking in a picket line outside the hospital?