911 call released, Garza Co deadly helicopter crash - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

911 call released, Garza Co deadly helicopter crash

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By James Clark | email  

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – On Tuesday morning Garza County released the 911 call from the deadly helicopter crash east of Post two days prior. 

The call is between the 13-year-old son of the injured passenger and a Garza County Sheriff's Department dispatcher.  He had just witnessed the crash north of Highway 380 and County Road 345, which is about 13 miles east of Post.  Federal investigators are trying to figure out the cause.

The son is near the helicopter as he calls.

The injured passenger, Michael Chenoweth, 53, is recovering at University Medical Center in Lubbock.  The pilot, Paul Beach, 66, died at the scene.

The call starts with the sound of sirens in the background of the dispatcher's office and she answers by saying, "911". 

The young man says "yeah, I lost the call with you." 

The recording released to us is actually the young man's second attempt to get help with officials saying the first call was lost due to a cell phone connection.

The dispatcher immediately recognizes his voice and says, "Stay on just a second."

During the entire call the urgent sound of Sheriff's Deputies, firefighters, and paramedics on their 2-way radios can be heard blaring in the dispatcher's office. 

After she reassures him that she's right there will stay with him on the phone until help arrives she announces the time on the radio, "15:47" which is 3:47 PM.  From the time she answers 911 to the time that the first responders arrive is 10 minutes and five seconds.

At times the dispatcher is talking to her young caller, multiple units on the radio, and an Aerocare dispatcher all at the same time.

Thirty seconds into the call the son asks "How long is this gonna take, ma'am?"

A fireman interrupts on the radio and the question goes unanswered.

The father is awake and talking during part of the call so the son knows that he's alive.  The pilot's condition, however, is not certain at the time of the 911 call. 

The dispatcher asks if he can feel a pulse on the pilot.  "If it's too hard for you, it's gonna be okay.  Okay?  I'm right here with you."  

"You're gonna be alright," she says. 

Out of respect for both families, portions of the audio have been removed.

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