The pilot of a medical helicopter that crash-landed on a church lawn outside Philadelphia said he “had God as my co-pilot” – after all four people aboard, including an infant patient, survived.
Danial Moore, 52, was at the controls of the LifeNet Eurocopter EC-135 chopper, which crashed about 1 p.m. Jan. 11 near Drexel Hill United Methodist Church in Delaware County on its way to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from Maryland.
The former military pilot – who suffered seven broken ribs, five broken vertebrae and a cracked sternum – was released from Penn Presbyterian Medical Center on Sunday, Fox 29 reported.
“I’m kind of loopy, as you can probably imagine. I’m just feeling fortunate. I had God as my co-pilot that day, and we took care of the crew and we landed in His front yard, so that was kind of nice,” Moore told reporters before an ambulance carried him home, according to NBC Philadelphia.
Moore said he didn’t remember much from what has been described as a “miracle” landing – other than “waking up and looking up and seeing a whole company of firefighters looking down at me,” the Inquirer reported.
“That’s a real good feeling,” he added.
Moore thanked his flight nurse for dragging him out of the burning wreckage, as well as the medic for caring for the 2-month-old girl and putting out the fire with an extinguisher before accompanying the child on an ambulance to “finish the mission,” NBC Philadelphia reported.
He also thanked his “guardian angel” fiancée, Gail Miller, and “all of those folks who were running toward the burning helicopter rather than away from it.”
Miller said it was a “miracle” everyone survived but emphasized that Moore still faces a long path toward a full recovery.
“There’s going to be a lot of recovery that has to happen, a lot of physical therapy that’s going to have to happen and some emotional support probably, as well, as he faces learning what happened in the crash,” said Miller, who also is a first-responder, according to the news outlet.
Dr. Brian Smith, a surgeon at Penn Presbyterian, told the Inquirer that “it was pretty amazing to see his crew members come through really unscathed.
“It’s amazing, and again, a testament to Dan’s skill to get that thing onto the ground. His talent saved the lives of everybody else on that helicopter,” he added.
Matt Nowlin, a former Army flight commander and Moore’s friend, said he was in “disbelief” when he watched footage of the crash.
“A nonpilot might look at that and say, ‘Wow that’s a terrible outcome,’ but that was a fantastic outcome — the fact that he avoided power lines and buildings and no one was hurt — it’s an absolute miracle,” Nowlin told the paper.
“Usually, when you meet someone like Dan, you’re having the worst day of your life,” he added. “I’m grateful he’s out there, and people should know that there are these kind of people out there in the world.”
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.