Unusual Crash at Night

Canada geese in flight (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

19 October 2022

On 7 October 2022 a STAT Medevac helicopter had to make an emergency landing in Greenfield Township in Erie County, PA because it hit a flock of geese. One of the geese crashed through the bubble on the pilot’s side. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

The first responders, Greenfield Township Volunteer Fire Company, posted this report on Facebook. Two more helicopters came to the aid of the first one: One to take the patient to the proper destination and one to evacuate the crash crew.

Two photos supplied by Mary Brush at StatMedEvac Pittsburgh show the damage to the helicopter. On the right you can see the hole in pilot’s-side windshield.

Helicopter downed by crash with geese in Greenfield Twp PA on 7 Oct 2022 (photos by Greenfield Township Volunteer Fire Company supplied by Mary Brush at STAT MedEvac Pittsburgh)

You may be surprised that Canada geese were flying at night but this is normal during fall migration. That night in Erie County the wind was from the northwest, perfect for heading south.

Canada geese flying at sunset (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Geese are not nocturnal birds but are known to fly at night when they migrate south in autumn. There are three main reasons behind their nightly migratory routine: to escape their diurnal predators, to avoid thermal interruption, and to benefit from the cooler winds of nighttime.

Sonoma Birding: Why Do Geese Fly at Night?

Nighttime bird crashes are rare nowadays because aircraft are supplied with Pulselite equipment that helps the birds visually locate the aircraft. Pulselites also make it easier for humans to do the same.

(Canada goose photos from Wikimedia Commons, embedded Facebook report from Greenfield Township VFC, helicopter photos by Greenfield Township VFC supplied by Mary Brush)

3 thoughts on “Unusual Crash at Night

  1. A bit off topic but a public service announcement for all bird lovers who follow this blog— today Amazon has a deeply discounted ebook of Peterson Field Guide To Birds Of North America, Second Edition (Peterson Field Guides) Kindle Edition. Marked down to $1.99

    Just sayin’

  2. Great blog piece Kate! Brings awareness to the hazards birds can pose! Pics were from the the fire department that responded! I wasn’t on duty that night?

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