BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Mercy Flight announced that Mercy Flight Central, which is based in Canandaigua, is now at the Buffalo base to provide service to Western New York following the fatal crash involving a Mercy Flight helicopter Tuesday.
Mercy Flight pilot James Sauer and Bell Helicopter flight instructor Stewart Dietrick were killed when a Mercy Flight helicopter crashed in the Town of Elba in Genesee County Tuesday. The cause of the crash is not known at this time, but the helicopter was on a training mission.
Mercy Flight announced its operations would be temporarily suspended "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."
Thursday, Mercy Flight announced Mercy Flight Central is now at the Buffalo base to provide service to WNY following the crash.
"Our neighboring non-profit Helicopter EMS provider based in Canandaigua, NY, Mercy Flight Central, is on location at our Buffalo Base to continue to deliver critical air ambulance service to the people of Western New York. Requests for air ambulance within our service area should continue to be directed to our Communications Center as normal. We are so grateful to have the full support of the Mercy Flight Central team during this difficult time, and we thank them and all who have expressed to us their well wishes and encouragement from the bottom of our hearts."
Hope Rises, a local nonprofit group, put out a call on social media Wednesday for Western New Yorkers to change their porch lights to blue and orange in support of Mercy Flight. Thursday afternoon the founder of Hope Rises, Kate Glaser, announced Buffalo City Hall and Niagara Falls will be lit blue and orange beginning Friday and lasting through the weekend in support of Mercy Flight. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has also asked other historic landmarks and structures to do the same.