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Home > Topics > Fatal Incidents

Girl hit by train dies after chopper lands on way to hospital

A CareFlite helicopter had to make a "precautionary landing" on the way to the hospital; she later died of her injuries

By Bill Miller
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH, Texas — A teenage girl who was hit by a train in a semi-rural area of southwest Fort Worth died late Wednesday after police, firefighters and crews of both ground and helicopter ambulances tried to get her to a hospital.

The girl, 15, was from Fort Worth, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office, which had not ruled on the manner of her death by late Thursday.

A CareFlite helicopter ambulance picked up the girl after landing on a bridge in the Chisholm Trail Parkway construction zone. The helicopter did not make it to a hospital, but had to make a “precautionary landing” at Meacham Airport in north Fort worth when a “status warning light” flashed on the flight deck, a CareFlite official said Thursday.

From Meacham, a MedStar ground ambulance took the girl from to John Peter Smith Hospital, said Brett Lyle, a MedStar spokeswoman.

She was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. at JPS, according to the medical examiner.

MedStar dispatchers were alerted shortly after 9 p.m. that someone had been hit by a train near the intersection of Old Granbury Road and Columbus Trail, Lyle said. The girl lived a little more than two miles from where she was struck.

Fort Worth police Capt. Scott Conn said the train, operated by the Fort Worth & Western Railroad, struck the girl as she sat on the tracks.

Two ambulances arrived, but their crews had difficulty finding the teen in the dark, Lyle said. The area, east of Benbrook Lake, is semi-rural and very dark at night.

Once the ambulance crews found the girl, they determined she was in critical condition and requested an air ambulance, Lyle said.

Firefighters and police also arrived and created a landing zone on a bridge that is part of construction for the new Chisholm Trail Parkway. They lighted the zone with flares.

The CareFlite helicopter was able to land on the bridge and take off with the patient, but soon had to land at Meacham.

“The landing was precautionary based on an status warning light on the flight deck,” said James Swartz, CareFlite president and CEO. “It was not an emergency landing, which means we land immediately rather than continuing to a helipad or airport.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
A MedStar ambulance picked up the girl about 10:45 p.m. and continued the trip to JPS, Lyle said.

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Cooper Landscaping Cooper Landscaping Friday, March 07, 2014 6:25:01 PM That's a tough one.
David Spugnardi Jr David Spugnardi Jr Friday, March 07, 2014 6:40:09 PM So glad there ceo backs his crew
Jonathan Glaude Jonathan Glaude Friday, March 07, 2014 6:57:54 PM what's that suppose to mean
Kimberly Alice Scott Kimberly Alice Scott Friday, March 07, 2014 9:32:56 PM Its a very sad outcome for this young girl, but I see nothing wrong with the actions taken by CareFlite where the precautionary landing is concerned. Their CEO backed them, and I glad for that. My heartfelt condolences to the family of this girl. I hate suicide, but I understand it enough not to judge, but to support those effected by it. Rest in peace child.
Jeanette Vlcek Jeanette Vlcek Saturday, March 08, 2014 8:09:03 AM The bit about her sitting on the tracks is disturbing. My first thoughts are incapacitated by drugs or suicide. We have far, far too many kids ending their own lives.
Joey Fisher Joey Fisher Saturday, March 08, 2014 12:04:11 PM It wasnt an emergency wich means they landed instead of continuing?so if it was an emergency landing they wouldve continued? Sounds like crap to me.
Kayla Kain Kayla Kain Saturday, March 08, 2014 1:18:43 PM Aw thats so sad payers to the family for losing their daughter god bless also do they know when the funeral is for this 15 year old girl.
R Stacy Voliva R Stacy Voliva Saturday, March 08, 2014 3:29:20 PM Its a sad circumstance, but the pilot has to land safely and EMS is there to do their best for the most survivors. He can't ignore a chip light and endanger losing 4 people. The young girl would likely not have survived her injuries. Miracles don't happen just because you substitute Jet A for Diesel Fuel...
Mike Buss Mike Buss Saturday, March 08, 2014 4:30:30 PM It's actually not crap. The very first and foremost important thing in EMS is keeping yourself and your partner safe. When the pilot saw the warning light in the aircraft (the aircraft was having a mechanical issue), he/she decided to make a precautionary landing in a safe place to keep the crew and the patient safe. They landed in precaution to prevent the emergency landing. An emergency landing is landing of the helicopter in an emergent, immediate order in the closest piece of unobstructed flat ground ie. road way, field, etc.
Aaron Wenzel Aaron Wenzel Saturday, March 08, 2014 5:17:03 PM How far was the Trauma Center? I'm not sure about Urban/Suburban Texas, but we don't use helicopters very often in our Urban/Suburban area. Unless it's extended extrication.
Nathan Beall Nathan Beall Saturday, March 08, 2014 7:16:47 PM I had to read that a couple times myself! What us actually being said us that if it was an emergency they would have landed immediately in the nearest opening but because it wasn't they continued on to the nearest heli-pad.

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