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LifeFlight helicopter still grounded in Machias after ambulance backed into its blade

LifeFlight crews and engineers on Monday and Tuesday looked at the blade and the center housing area to check to see how extensive the damage is.

MACHIAS, Maine — What started out as a routine transport for a LifeFlight of Maine helicopter ended up with the medivac unit grounded in Machias since Sunday.

The helicopter was called to Washington County late Sunday night for a bad car crash, but shortly after it landed, a Machias ambulance backed into one of the blades.

LifeFlight crews and engineers on Monday and Tuesday looked at the blade and the center housing area to check to see how extensive the damage is. 

Executive Director of LifeFlight of Maine Tom Judge said they have three primary helicopters that are used for patients and one for training and backup so they are still taking care of Maine. 

Judge said they will have the answer on the damage soon. 

"We’re still doing a final engineering analysis. We had a team up here today taking more measurements and working with the product support engineers at the manufacturer. Once they determine the final analysis and then we can either put another blade on and fly it back and do some final inspections in Bangor or all we have to do more and not fly back."

The Washington County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident and said the accident happened after the driver of the ambulance ended up helping the crew in the back of the ambulance and so a volunteer firefighter was driving the ambulance.   

Judge said they are working with the town of Machias to figure things out but he said the important thing is no one was hurt. The patient that originally needed to be transported ended up being taken by another helicopter that was rerouted and successfully taken to a hospital.

Officials at the Machias town office said the ambulance is still in service.