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In 1994, Flight For Life® Colorado suffered its first, and only helicopter crash. During a mountain rescue flight on Huron Peak, flight nurse Sandy Sigman and pilot Gary McCall were killed. Both were long term, beloved senior crewmembers and their loss was felt deeply by our program, and by the EMS community.
Sandy was a teacher and builder of bridges, working tirelessly with the Emergency Nurses' Association, the paramedic training program at St. Anthony Hospitals, and the Association of Critical Care Nurses, to improve education and practice for EMS personnel. A transplanted Australian, she had boundless energy and was consistently cheerful. She was mourned by many of her patients, who loved her for her good cheer and encouragement.
Gary was a Vietnam veteran, and had flown in air medical programs for many years. Although his final base was our mountain base at Frisco, he spent several years flying at Penrose Hospital's Flight For Life location. An artist and jeweler, he was a devoted grandfather who loved his mountain home near Fairplay.
Mr. E.V. Kuhlman was the CEO of St. Anthony Hospitals, and the executive who oversaw the start of the flight program in 1972. Although in its early months, it was substantially over budget and unpopular with other Denver area hospitals, Mr. Kuhlman didn't waver in his support or commitment to seeing it through. He, along with other administrators at St. Anthony, mapped new territory in the creation of this program that sent nurses out into the field to work where nurses had not worked before, using civilian helicopters for medical transport.
Mr. Jack Goetzinger was Mr. Kuhlman's assistant and the administrator with aviation experience. He had flown in helicopters in Europe while in the Army, and recognized the Allouette III as the right choice for the high, thin air of Colorado. He oversaw the aviation side of Flight For Life in its early days and provided consultation to other hospitals in establishing new programs, based on the model of Flight For Life.
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