CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — An air ambulance provider based in Canandaigua will carry out EMS missions in the place of Mercy Flight, after a helicopter crash killed two people in Genesee County Tuesday.
As of the announcement Thursday, Mercy Flight Central will handle all emergency calls out of Mercy Flight’s Buffalo Base in effort to bolster service in the area after the helicopter was destroyed in the crash.
According to New York State Police, the helicopter crashed near Edgerton and Norton Roads around 1:00 p.m. in the Town of Elba.
While the cause of the crash is under investigation, police confirmed pilots James Sauer, 60, a retired New York State Police pilot from Churchville and Stewart Dietrick, 60, from Texas both died in the incident. Both were onboard the helicopter as part of a training mission.
Sauer was also a former Rochester police officer, having served with the RPD from 1993 until 2001.
Investigators have since said the pair crashed after taking off from the Genesee County Airport in Batavia — about three miles from the crash site. An investigation is currently ongoing, but a determination to what led to the crash is expected to take several months to complete.
Despite the handover of service, all calls will be directed to Mercy Flight’s communication center as normal. Officials said the switch will not interrupt service.
Representatives with Mercy Flight released the following statement Thursday, saying in part:
“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.”