Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hospital: Drone delayed helicopter from picking up patient

EMS pilot Gary Colecchi 

FORT WORTH – Little Lucy James is one week old Wednesday. She arrived in this world nine weeks early, weighing just 3 lbs., 13 oz.

"She's not very big," says mom Alex James. "She doesn't know that. She thinks she's huge."

Holding and cuddling the little baby are magic moments for moms Alex and Katie James. But the moments leading up to Lucy's delivery were much more tense. Doctors in Decatur told the parents Lucy's lungs weren't fully developed, and she'd need to be flown immediately to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth.

"It was really scary, honestly," Alex said.

"These kids need medical attention, and they need it rather fast," said EMS pilot Gary Colecchi, who flies for Cook Children's Teddy Bear Transport.

That's why an incident this summer at Cook Children's has pilots like Colecchi concerned.

Back in July, a medical chopper had just dropped off a patient.

"They were then dispatched to another critical injured child," Colecchi said. "However, they were unable to take off for 20 minutes because someone was flying a drone around [the] hospital."

That means a North Texas child had to wait 20 minutes longer than necessary for crucial medical attention, all because of a drone.

"It could've been bad," said Debbie Boudreaux, director of transportation for Cook Children's Hospital.

Boudreaux worries this is a sign of things to come, as drones pick up in popularity.

The FAA estimates at least 700,000 drones will be sold by the end of the holiday season. The issue is that, currently, the FAA has no laws on where you can fly drones. They simply suggest not to fly within five miles of airports, including hospital helicopter pads.

Actual laws should be coming soon, according to an FAA spokesperson.

In the meantime, Cook Children's and other hospitals are pleading for people not to fly drones near their facilities for fear the next 20-minute delay means the child doesn't get a happy ending, like Lucy James.

If you plan to fly a drone, first click here to see a website for guidance on where to fly safely.

- Source:

Cessna 182Q Skylane, 96381 Inc., N96381: Fatal accident occurred November 10, 2015 in Richmond, Ray County, Missouri

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: 

96381 INC:

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Kansas City FSDO-63

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA037 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 10, 2015 in Richmond, MO
Aircraft: CESSNA 182Q, registration: N96381
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 10, 2015, about 1858 central standard time, a Cessna 182Q, single engine airplane, N96381, impacted obstructions and terrain during an off-airport emergency landing near Richmond, Missouri. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to 96381 Inc.; Ortonville, Michigan; and was operated by a private individual, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Dark night visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed. The airplane had departed Oakland County International Airport, (PTK) Pontiac, Michigan, about 1530 eastern standard time, and was destined for Charles B Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC), Kansas City, Missouri.

The airplane was in cruise flight about 3,200 feet mean sea level (msl) and was receiving visual flight rules flight following from air traffic control at Kansas City. About ten minutes before the accident the pilot requested directions to the nearest airport and reported that airplane had a significant loss of engine power. The controller gave directions to Curtis Field Airport (8MO3), Richmond, Missouri, which was then about five miles southwest from the airplane. The last radar data showed that the descending airplane was about 1,600 feet msl and several minutes later radio contact was lost.

A witness about two miles northwest from 8MO3 saw the navigation lights and the landing light of the southbound airplane. He reported that the airplane passed directly overhead about 500 feet above him and the engine sounded like it was "spitting". The witness watched the lights of the airplane then proceed in the general direction of 8MO3. The airplane was more than a mile away, had completed a left turn and was proceeding almost due west when the witness saw the airplane descend and disappear from his sight. Shortly afterward he heard two distinct "thuds". The witness immediately contacted 9-1-1 emergency, an active search began, and the wreckage was found at 2126.

Evidence at the scene showed the airplane was northwest bound when it first struck an 80-foot tall tree, and was nearly nose down vertical when it impacted terrain. Adequate fuel was found in the airplane, but there was no postimpact fire.

The closest official weather reporting station was at KGPH, Mosby, Missouri; located 16 miles west from the accident location, At 1835 the Automated Surface Observation System at KGPH, reported wind from 120 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 17 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 8 degrees C, with an altimeter setting of 29.82 inches of Mercury.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Dr. Elizabeth McGhee

Dr. Elizabeth McGhee

Elizabeth McGhee with her son Merritt, 12, both of Oxford, helped fly gifts to foster care children on Dec. 3 from the Oakland County International Airport as part of Operation Good Cheer. More than 200 pilots volunteered to take the hundreds of gifts around the state.

Friends and family will gather this weekend to remember a selfless volunteer, accomplished veterinarian and mother of nine who died in a plane crash last week. 

Elizabeth McGhee, 57, of Ortonville, died Nov. 10 in a single-engine plane crash in Ray County, Missouri, according to the Kansas City Star. She was the only occupant of the plane.

McGhee, a Kansas native, was an accomplished veterinarian, pilot and 4-H leader, as well as a missionary to Africa, according to her obituary.

“She spent here life investing in the lives of other human beings all over the world,” said longtime friend Melanie Morris, officer manager of Lake Orion Veterinary Hospital, where McGhee worked. “She was my mentor and the mentor of many others in motherhood, homeschooling, as a 4-H leader, as a businessperson and she was very involved in her community as a 4-H leader, as a medical missionary, as a pilot, a beauty pageant contestant and as a Republican delegate.”

McGhee was also a former Oakland County Homemaker of the Year and, in 2011, used her Cessna 172 to deliver Christmas gifts to foster children around the state as part of Operation Good Cheer.

A memorial service for McGhee will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Auburn Hills Christian Center, located at 2592 East Walton Blvd. in Auburn Hills.

Church administrator Shelley Gilbert said McGhee was energetic and full of life and was involved in many activities, including mission work across the country and overseas.

“She had a passion for life and she was a very fun person to be around,” Gilbert said.

Cash or check memorials can be sent to Clarkston State Bank, attn: Elizabeth McGhee Legacy Fund; or Mercy in Truth Medical Missions, 721 North 31st, Kansas City, KS 66102.

In lieu of cut flowers, McGhee’s family asks friends and family to consider donating to either organization or perennials plant arrangements entrusted to Lewis E. Wint & Son Funeral Home, located at 5929 South Main St. in Clarkston.

An online guest book is available at

- Source:

Dr. Elizabeth McGhee

Elizabeth McGhee (left), of Ortonville, with daughters Faith (middle) and Catherine (right) in this 2009 photo.

Dr. Elizabeth McGhee

In Memoriam of Dr. Elizabeth McGhee 
November 12, 1957 - November 10, 2015

DDr. Elizabeth C.(Stevens) McGhee; of Ortonville; Born in Wichita Kansas to Charles E. Stevens Jr. & E.C. Erin Stevens, Michigan died Suddenly on November 10, 2015; age 57; Survived by her children Grace E McGhee Seeley, Grant E. McGhee, Charles E. McGhee, Clark E. McGhee, Faith E.E. McGhee Miller, Catherine E. McGhee Pugh, Joseph E. McGhee, Madeline E. A. McGhee & Merritt M. McGhee; and her Mother- E.C. Erin Stevens; Sister of Catherine C. Gordon and Matthew M. Stevens; and five grandchildren, Binti, Charlette, Jack, Burliss, and Juniper.

Elizabeth, as an accomplished veterinarian, pilot, 4-H Leader, missionary to Africa and mother of many, her legacy is just beginning.

Celebration of life service is Saturday, November 21st at 11am, at Auburn Hills Christian Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan. 

Cash or check memorials my be sent to Clarkson State Bank Att: Elizabeth McGhee Legacy Fund, and/or Mercy in Truth Medical Missions, 721 N. 31st, Kansas City, KS 66102 for Africa Missions; In lieu of cut flowers, please consider donating to either organization or perennials plants arrangements entrusted to Lewis E. Wint & Son Funeral Home, Clarkston. Online guest book


UPDATE (11/11/15) RICHMOND, Mo. — Missouri Highway Patrol identified the victim in Tuesday evening’s plane crash as a Michigan woman. 

12:15 p.m. — The pilot in Tuesday evening’s plane crash in Ray County has been identified.

Elizabeth Carleen-Stevens McGhee of Ortonville, Michigan pilot was traveling from KC to Michigan when her plane went down near Highway 13 and Route B sometime after 7:00 p.m. A search for the craft began after a distress signal was received by authorities.

She was pronounced dead by the Ray County Coroner. An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing. Her name is expected to be released Wednesday afternoon.

ORIGINAL (11/10/15)

10:54 p.m. — The pilot of a small aircraft that crashed in Ray County Tuesday night has died.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a distress call was received from the plane after 7:00 p.m. prompting an air and ground search for the plane. It was found around 9:30 p.m. near Richmond at Highway 13 and Route B.

The Ray County Sheriff’s Department says the pilot was the only person in the plane at the time of the crash. The pilot’s identity is not being released at this time.


RAY COUNTY, Mo. - UPDATE 11/11| Missouri Highway Patrol identified the victim killed in a single-engine plane crash early Tuesday night.

The victim has been identified as 57-year-old Elizabeth Carleen-Stevens McGhee. According to reports, Thursday would’ve been her 58th birthday.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the crash. 


One person is dead following a single-engine plane crash in Ray County, Mo.

Ray County Sheriff’s Deputies and the Missouri Highway Patrol were called out after 7:30 p.m. to an area north of Richmond, Mo. on reports that a small plane had lost contact with air traffic controllers.

According to reports, emergency crews combed the rural area for the plane for nearly two hours before locating it near Missouri Highway 13 and Dockery Road. A 41 Action News photographer found the scene near 134th St.

Troopers say one person was killed in the crash.   Investigators remain on scene trying to learn more about the circumstances of the crash.