A medical helicopter pilot who was seriously injured when the aircraft went down in Delaware County was released from the hospital Sunday morning.
Daniel Moore had been at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia since Tuesday afternoon, when the helicopter he was piloting went down in Upper Darby Township with Moore, a 2-month-old patient, a nurse and a flight medic aboard.
On Sunday, police and fire personnel, as well as Moore's medical team, gave him a round of applause as he exited the doors of the hospital.
“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 said while strapped to a stretcher before being loaded onto an ambulance to take him home.
Moore's father told NBC10 earlier that his son suffered substantial injuries to his ribs, spine and chest and underwent surgery. The other people on the helicopter were uninjured, authorities said.
Flight data shows the helicopter was heading in a “laser-straight course line” at a steady speed and altitude until it reached the Drexel Hill area of Upper Darby Township, where witness and video evidence “describes the helicopter maneuvering erratically” before it crashed in front of a church, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Brian Rayner said.
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The flight was heading to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and coming from Chambersburg, a borough in southcentral Pennsylvania that is located west of where the crash happened, Rayner added.
After the helicopter went down, an ambulance rushed the 2-month-old girl to CHOP.
The helicopter came down next to the front steps of the Drexel Hill United Methodist Church. At the time of the crash, there were children at a daycare inside the church, Upper Darby Fire Department Chief Derrick Sawyer said.
The church was spared any damage in the immediate aftermath of the crash, as were numerous houses across the street.
Moore thanked his flight nurse for dragging him out from under the helicopter and getting him to safety. He also thanked his flight medic, who he said took the baby girl, handed her off to someone, grabbed a fire extinguisher to put out the flames from the burning wreckage and then got on an ambulance with the child to “finish the mission.”
He also expressed gratitude to the first responders who rendered aid and to the “everyday heroes,” including a rideshare driver, who saw the crash and ran to help.
Gail Miller, Moore’s fiancée, said it was a “miracle” everyone survived but stressed that Moore had a long way to go toward a full recovery.
“We still have a long way to go. 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 – because right now he does not remember,” said Miller, who herself works as a first responder.