New air ambulance dedicated

Original was damaged in March plane crash

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— Mountain Flight Service dedicated its new air ambulance Saturday, nearly two months after its twin-engine King Air E90 crashed just outside Kremmling.

Pilot Dan Brown, flight nurse Dave Linner and flight paramedic Dotsy Gigliotti walked away from that crash with minor injuries.

Cynthia Maddox, co-owner of Mountain Flight Services, feels doubly blessed.

The crew survived the accident barely scathed, and emergency patient transports were restored to the Yampa Valley in short order. Yampa Valley Medical Center suspended Yampa Valley Air Ambulance indefinitely after the March 19 crash and relied on other communities' air ambulance services in the interim.

"We're very fortunate to be able to get back on line," Maddox said.

The new plane is the spitting image of its predecessor. The damaged plane's interior, which looks like a mini-emergency care unit, was not harmed during the crash and was transferred to the new aircraft.

People who turned out for the dedication got a firsthand look inside the plane. They also were treated to a larger show-and-tell of other emergency vehicles used by Routt County Search and Rescue, Steamboat Fire and Rescue, Steamboat Springs Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and the Routt County Sheriff's Office.

The dedication of the new air ambulance headlined Emergency Medical Services Day, but members of the Yampa Valley Air Ambulance flight crew were not the only emergency personnel recognized Saturday.

"It's an opportunity to introduce all the emergency medical services that people don't ever see unless they get to ride in the back of an ambulance," county trauma coordinator Steve Hilley said.

Firefighters showed off their big trucks to wide-eyed children, Search and Rescue members sold CORSAR cards to outdoor enthusiasts and police preached the importance of buckling up.

Trooper Rick Kaspar with the Colorado State Patrol simulated what could happen to a car that rolled at 25 mph. Two dummies in the car -- an adult and an infant -- were not wearing their seat belts.

Sometimes the pair fell out; sometimes the pair stayed in. Regardless of the result, the demonstration made a point.

"It works really well with kids," Kaspar said. He hopes that parents get the message, too.

Mitch Cantele and his wife, Cynthia, brought their children, Aidan, 2, and Miranda, 1, with them.

"I wanted to teach him (Aidan) about safety and fire equipment and wearing your seat belt -- all that good stuff," Cantele said.

Yampa Valley residents are fortunate to have such a high level of staff and resources committed to emergency response, said Mel Stewart, EMS Battalion Chief for Steamboat Fire Rescue.

"It requires a lot of dedicated people," Stewart said.


-- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203

or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com

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