When news of the Native Air helicopter accident came out, Prescott’s local Native Air team posted this on their Facebook page:
"Our crews here at Native 4 and 14 are safe, and we genuinely appreciate your concern. We are devastated to report that we have lost two Crewmembers from another of our bases outside of the Prescott area, and the third Crewmember is currently hospitalized. We ask that you please keep all three of these Native Air Crewmembers and their Families in your thoughts and prayers.”
No patients were on the flight, which was on its way to Globe, Arizona from the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
Since then, a GoFundMe account has been set up for Boehm.
On the GoFundMe page for Derek Boehm, a paramedic who was a passenger on the Native Air 5 flight that crashed in the evening of Tuesday, December 15, 2015, his story is shared.
"On Tuesday, December 15th, one of the greatest people I've ever had the blessing to know found himself in the middle of a nightmare. Derek Boehm, an excellent flight paramedic, father, husband, friend, coworker... you name it... lay at the bottom of a rugged mountain with two broken femurs and a broken back. Despite his extensive injuries, he provided aid and support to his partner, until his partner died, while waiting to be rescued. Derek was the only survivor when a medical flight crew of 3 was involved in a tragic helicopter crash. After hours of waiting, Derek was able to signal a rescue crew with a flashlight to alert them of the crash location. Once a marine, always a marine.
"Derek Boehm is the kind of guy that if you are at work, you hope he's on your team; If your heart stops, you hope he is the paramedic that arrives to save your life; he is the kind of person that would never ask for help, but will always be the first to offer it. So now it's our turn to help him.
"Derek is currently lying in an ICU with a long road to recovery ahead of him. I can't even fathom the sum of medical bills piling up, on top of being out of work and having a family to support.
"Let's all rally together and show this military vet and amazing person that his lifetime of kindness and sacrifice did not go unnoticed, and that we are here for him when he is most in need.
"This man is the true definition of a hero, and this is how we can give back."
Press Release from Pinal County Sheriff
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the deaths of two Native Air Ambulance crew members as the result of their helicopter going down in a remote area of the Superstition Mountains north of Superior, Ariz. at approximately 6 p.m. on Dec. 15. Pilot David Schneider, 51, of Gilbert, Ariz. and Flight Nurse Chad Frary, 38, of Mesa, Ariz. were fatally injured in the crash. Flight Paramedic Derek Boehm, 38, of Gilbert, Ariz. is the sole survivor and is listed in fair condition at a local hospital.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a Wednesday morning press conference, “We ask for prayers for the families of the crew members aboard. This is a medical crew who helps people each and every day and now, has gone down in this tragic incident.”
In the press conference, Sheriff Babeu provided the following timeline of events;
On Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m., the Pinal County Sheriff’s office communications center received a call from Native Air asking if there were reports of a helicopter crash. They were told that none had been reported at the time. At 8:18 p.m., the dispatch center received a call from the Ariz. Dept. of Public Safety advising us that Native Air had requested their assistance in locating a missing helicopter which had left the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, flying to Globe, Ariz. Pinal County deputies responded to the reported area where last contact was made with the flight, but were unable to the remote location by ground. At 8:27 p.m., Native Air advised DPS that they had found the crash site of their downed helicopter in a rugged area of the Superstition Mountains and had dropped off two of their medical staff on the ground nearby, who were making their way to the crash site.
At 9 p.m., The Ariz. Dept. of Public Safety advised PCSO that they had located the crash site and were unable to land; however, they were signaled with a flashlight from the ground by a survivor of the crash. The US Air Force was called to assist in extracting the survivor from the crash site. At 10:15 p.m., a USAF helicopter extracted the lone survivor from the crash site and flew him to a Phoenix trauma center.
Sheriff Babeu concluded, “At sunrise on Wednesday morning, PCSO Search and Rescue personnel were airlifted to the crash site to secure the wreckage and recover the two deceased crew members. The recovery operations continue at this time. PCSO is assisting the NTSB and FAA with their investigation of the helicopter crash. The federal investigators will make determination of the cause of the crash upon completion of their investigation.”