Survivor of chopper crash released from hospital

Posted at 6:00 PM, Dec 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 22:58:32-05

Derek Boehm, the sole survivor of a deadly helicopter crash in Pinal County, has been released from the hospital and is recovering from the accident, officials told ABC15 on Wednesday.

Boehm suffered serious injuries, including a broken back, broken legs, and broken femur.

He's recovering at Maricopa Medical Center, but friends are worried about the permanent emotional scars he'll keep from that night.

"You don't meet Derek and then forget him, you just don't," said Lena Walker, who worked with Boehm at Florence Hospital at Anthem. She shudders thinking of how close her friend came to death.

"We're all so glad that hes still here. we realize how differently it could have turned out."

Now, she's raising money through a GoFundMe account, so the Marine can focus on healing and getting back to his wife and daughter.

"He's a fighter so he will get through this," she said. 

Boehm's family says he needs the community's support.

A general timeline of the incident was also released, although the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

  • 6 p.m.: The Native Air aircraft is reported missing by the company.
  • 7:30 p.m.: Air Methods contacted PCSO wondering if its office had received any reports of a downed aircraft. PCSO had not received any reports at that time.
  • 8:18 p.m.: The Department of Public Safety contacted PCSO saying it had been contacted by Air Methods related to a missing aircraft.
  • 8:27 p.m.: Two Native Air aircrafts sent out to look for the helicopter located the crash site, but were unable to land due to the rough terrain.
  • 9 p.m.: A DPS aircraft located the crash site and found the lone survivor signaling to them with a "flashlight-type device," said Sheriff Paul Babeu. Due to the terrain, the aircraft was unable to land.
  • 10:15 p.m.: The survivor was picked up and removed from the area by a military aircraft and taken to the hospital.