One heart-stopper after another in donor organ drama

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This organ survived a chopper crash and horrific fall before successfully reaching it's recipient  (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
This organ survived a chopper crash and horrific fall before successfully reaching it's recipient (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Talk about a rough day at work! Staff and patients at Keck Hospital in Los Angeles thought the city had been hit by an earthquake when their building began to shake violently.

It wasn’t an earthquake – it was a helicopter ambulance, ferrying a donor heart from San Diego to Keck for a waiting recipient that crash-landed on the roof of the hospital.

In a dramatic video of the crash, the helicopter ambulance can be seen losing control as the pilot battled to land it on the hospital’s roof before it fell on its side near the edge of the rooftop.

Patient Javier Chamorro was on the second floor inside the hospital when he heard a loud noise.

“The building shook,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I thought it was an earthquake.”

“The pilot extricated himself from the wreckage and he was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. The other two passengers that were in the aircraft also self-extricated and they’re being examined here at the Keck Medical Center,” said LAFD battalion chief Gene Bednarchik.

The pilot suffered minor injuries, and his two passengers were unharmed in the incident on Friday.

The video shows the LA Fire Department (LAFD) cutting through the wreckage of the helicopter to retrieve the donor heart.

“I was inside the building working. Then we heard everyone run out and went out and saw it. It was like people were saying, ‘Oh the blade of the helicopter was coming down or something’. I didn’t see anything personally, but I know they were talking about debris flying from the air,” pharmacist intern Bahador Aghakoochek told

But just when you thought it was all over, the medic who was handed the sterile box, known as “the heart in a box”, containing the heart, tripped over debris as he was hurrying way back into the building – sending the precious organ flying.

Thankfully, his colleagues quickly scooped it up and whisked it into the building, where it was successfully transplanted into its waiting recipient, a hospital spokesperson said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.

Sources: Metro, Daily Mail, Twitter

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