Survivors of Medical Chopper Crash Talk About Recovery

November 17, 2016 09:45 AM

For the first time, we're hearing from three medics who survived when their air ambulance crashed in Alexandria.

It happened two months ago, one still remains in the hospital.

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RELATED: 3 Crew Members Critically Injured in Alexandria Helicopter Crash

"I was ejected from the helicopter and was found on the ground," flight paramedic Miles Weske said. 

"My vertebra from the impact of the force shattered," flight nurse Scott Scepaniak said.

"Helicopters are typically not very survivable, not in a crash like that," says North Memorial Air Care pilot Joshua Jones.

It was 2 a.m. Saturday morning, Sept. 17.

An air ambulance heading from Brainerd to Alexandria crashed just before landing to pick up a patient.

"At some point I noticed the aircraft had gone into a hard left bank, so it was turning sharp left, and then I remember a sharp right, which was probably me over-correcting," Jones said. 

Jones was ejected through the front windshield, he broke bones from his shoulders to his feet.

"I remember my back hurting," Scepaniak said.

Scepaniak was pinned between the helicopter and a tree.

He remembers unbuckling his seatbelt and taking off his helmet, and said he immediately heard voices.

"I remember people talking, trying to find us, trying to figure out who was all there, who was all injured," he said. 

Turns out where they crashed was the first miracle.

"God was very gracious because somehow we ended up in a doctor's yard," Jones said.

The second miracle was Miles Weske.

"The first day we didn't know if he was going to make it," said Brook Weber, Weske's fiancée.

Weske, a flight paramedic, has no memory of the crash.

"I ended up somehow on the ground about 40 feet from the aircraft," he said.

He broke his neck, back, ribs, leg, ankle, had a lacerated liver and bleeding in the brain.

"The priest came in to give me last rites, that's where we were at," he said.

Weske and his fiancée are both flight medics, they've talked about this exact scenario.

"Not really expecting it could happen, but aware it could, and it did," he says.  

When Weske arrived at North Memorial Medical Center 60 days ago he was given only a 1 percent chance of surviving this crash, now he's looking at leaving the hospital this week.

"I'm astonished, and grateful the people who were there, were there," he said. 

The North Memorial family came together Tuesday to celebrate these men, thank them for what they do, and wish them well as they continue to recover.

"I'm doing great, I'm down to two Tylenol before I go to bed, I hope to be walking next week," Jones said with a smile.

Jones and Scepaniak plan to fly again.

Weske isn't sure if his injuries will allow it.

But for all three, the irony of this horrific crash isn't lost on them.

"It hits you, that you leave trying to save a patient and you become a patient, it's a tough thing to deal with," Scepaniak said. 

The National Transportation Safety Board says the cause of the crash hasn't been determined, but weather had moved into the area.

Weske and Weber had planned to marry last month, their wedding has now been rescheduled for January.

Weske is bound and determined to walk down the aisle.

You can visit a Go Fund Me page set up to help Weske here.

Credits

Jessica Miles

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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