NORTH BRANCH TOWNSHIP, WYOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The search for answers continues Friday into a deadly helicopter crash. The helicopter took off from Allentown and was headed to Bradford County, but tragically crashed in Wyoming County.
Investigators confirm one person has died in the crash near Forkston.
“They said there were parts of the helicopter there and the operator — what we believe to be the operator because there was only one body recovered — was there in the crash site area,” said Master Trooper Deanna Piekanski.
The victim has been identified by a Guthrie Hospital spokesperson as Dr. Sanjay Kansara, a member of the Robert Packer Hospital anesthesiology team.
Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital is mourning the loss of Dr. Kansara. Guthrie issued this statement:
The Guthrie community is deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Dr. Sanjay Kansara. Dr. Kansara joined Guthrie in September, 2020 and was a member of the Robert Packer Hospital anesthesiology team.
“Dr. Kansara was a devoted anesthesiologist who was committed to providing wonderful care to his patients. He was friendly and had an upbeat, positive demeanor with patients and colleagues,” said Dr. Burdett Porter.
According to his colleagues, Dr. Kansara had a passion for flying and enjoyed the freedom of being able to fly himself between his home in the Allentown area and Guthrie’s Sayre Campus.
“We extend our condolences to Dr. Kansara’s family. We will all miss this fine physician and gentleman. This loss will be deeply felt by the Guthrie family,” said Dan Brown, MD, Chair, Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine.GUTHRIE HEALTH SYSTEM
Multiple fire departments helped investigators access the scene of the crash which is in a remote, mountainous area of Wyoming County. Investigators tell us simply reaching the site has been a challenge.
A command post was set up on Windy Valley Road in Forkston Township. First responders gathered there late Thursday night when it was confirmed that a helicopter had crashed into the mountains near there at about 9:30 p.m.
“They came back down from the crash site. There is one person that was recovered. They recovered the aircraft. We’re not going to make a positive identification on it or release any information until we can get all information the FAA needs until middle of next week, get DNA testing to make positive identification,” said Master Trooper Deanna Piekanski.
State police talked about the flight information.
“We do know it came from Allentown to Towanda area. It was coming to the Towanda area,” said Master Tpr. Piekanski.
Eyewitness News has confirmed with officials at the Queen City Airport near Allentown and the manager of the Bradford County airport that the helicopter took off from Queen City just after 8 p.m. and was headed to Bradford County.
Air traffic control at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport called the Bradford County Airport and said the helicopter had disappeared from radar and wanted to know if it had landed at Bradford.
It had not landed. Investigators say a medical helicopter spotted the burning wreckage.
“They were in the area for a call, it had nothing to do with this they were just up in the air. My belief is they saw smoke and fire because of high impact crash. There was a fire started and they called it in,” said Master Tpr. Piekanski.
The recovery operation and investigation is hampered by the remote location of the crash site. The only way to access the site is by using ATVs. Investigators say it takes more than an hour to reach a spot where they have to park the ATVs and then walk another good distance to reach the wreckage.
An FAA investigator is on scene.