Falls from choppers are not common. Sadly, on Monday, a Texas nurse died tragically during a rescue operation with STAR Flight. Kristin McLain was pronounced dead after she fell from a helicopter while trying to retrieve a hiker who became trapped in the Barton Creek Greenbelt, according to a report from USA Today.
McLain, 46, was part of a full time crew aboard a rescue aircraft at the time of her death. The flight nurse joined members aboard the helicopter after responding to an emergency call about a woman who fell near the 2600 block of Barton Hills Drive.
At this time, many of the details of how the nurse fell are unclear. However, according to a news release posted on the Travis County website, a hoist used by Kristin McLain to rescue a hiker became detached. As a consequence, the healthcare professional took a fatal fall.
STAR Flight nurse dies after fall during wilderness rescue. http://t.co/QwDcC8VQoF pic.twitter.com/sVUOx4GrGs
— keyetv (@keyetv) April 28, 2015
The area of the incident is a popular destination for hikers. It spans through rugged terrain nearly eight miles, from Barton Springs Pool to past Loop 360. Hiking enthusiasts often traverse the hills that have collapsed.
The death cause of the nurse who fell from the helicopter is under investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration (or FAA) is leading the probe into the chopper accident, according to spokesperson, Lynn Lunsford. Next, the agency will turn over its findings to the National Transportation and Safety Board, the agency charged with investigating aircraft incidents.
“The FAA will be part of that investigation, but all of our findings will be turned over to the NTSB. The [agency] will be in charge of all updates on the progress of the investigation.”
Sources say the rescued woman was transported to a nearby hospital. Reportedly, the victim did not suffer any life-threatening injuries. Their condition upon arrival was stable.
Nurse McLain served with the helicopter agency for over a period of seven years. Then, she was the second of two women with STAR Flight that consisted of seven nurses, three mechanics, seven pilots and seven medics. The training requirements to join the elite team involves rigorous exercises. Successful applicants must also pass clinical and rescue operations education components.
After the Kristin McLain fell fatally from the helicopter, the director of the agency she worked for issued a statement of condolences.
“Kristin was a wonderful Flight Nurse and a very special friend. I am going to miss her with all of my heart.”
[Photo by Brian Papke via Facebook]