When Danial Moore noticed that something was wrong with his medical helicopter, he had about a mile to search for the best place to land so that no one would get hurt.
He desperately wanted to save himself, of course, but he wasn’t the only one on board. With him included a crew member, a nurse, and a 2-month-old who was en route to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Maryland.
To make matters worse, this former military pilot knew all too well the odds of a crash like this one ending well — helicopter crashes are especially known for being fatal.
Still, Danial did everything he could to minimize the damage, and he crashed landed in the front yard of a church. In the process, he managed to not hit a single utility line, building, or car.
A man who was driving his family around town just so happened to be nearby when the accident happened, prompting him to call 911. By the time first responders arrived, all four passengers managed to already make it out of the aircraft, all thanks to Danial’s flight nurse.
“The best way to describe it is a miracle,” Fire Chief Derrick Sawyer said.
Although Danial doesn’t remember much of what happened, he crash-landed in a way to where he got the brunt of the fall. While the other three passengers sustained non-life-threatening injuries, he suffered seven broken ribs, five broken vertebrae, and a cracked sternum.
Still, this skilled pilot couldn’t be more grateful for how everything turned out, especially now that he’s already been released from the hospital!
“A nonpilot might look at that and say, ‘Wow that’s a terrible outcome,’ but that was a fantastic outcome,” Matt Nowlin, a friend and former Army flight commander said. “The fact that he avoided power lines and buildings and no one was hurt — it’s an absolute miracle. I’m grateful he’s out there, and people should know that there are these kind of people out there in the world.”
Danial is just at the start of his healing journey that will no doubt include lots of physical therapy and extra emotional support as he processes what happened, but for now, he’s just grateful to be alive.
“I’m kind of loopy, as you can probably imagine,” Danial said to reporters the day he was released from the hospital. “I’m just feeling fortunate. I had God as my co-pilot that day, and we took care of the crew and we landed in his front yard, so that was kind of nice.”
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