At approximately 1:00 p.m. the Mercy Flight Communications Center was notified that a Mercy Flight helicopter had sustained an accident in the area of Elba, NY in Genesee County during Mercy Flight’s annual Bell Helicopter factory training.
Mercy Flight Pilot James Sauer and a Bell Helicopter Flight Instructor perished in the accident. Mr. Sauer, a retired NYS Police Pilot, began working with Mercy Flight in October 2020.
“It goes without saying that our attention needs to be focused on the families of those lost and on our own employees as we deal with this unspeakable tragedy. This is a very dark day for the Mercy Flight family, we are so grateful for the expressions of love, concern and support expressed by many,” said Margaret Ferrentino, Mercy Flight’s President.
“Mercy Flight has temporarily suspended operations in order to allow time for our employees to process the event, and to ensure the complete safe mechanical operation of our other helicopters pending a preliminary accident team investigation. The Mercy Flight Communications Center will remain operational and will refer any requests to other area resources who are standing by to assist,” states Scott Wooton, Mercy Flight’s Executive Vice President.
The cause of the accident has not been determined. FAA, NTSB, Bell Helicopter and Underwriter Accident Investigation teams are responding to the scene. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.