ROBBINSDALE -- Brooklyn Weber awoke to the sound of her pager.
Since she is a flight nurse with Sanford Medical Center and her fiance, Miles Weske, is a flight and ground paramedic, being awoken in the middle of the night was routine.
It was about 3 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17.
After determining her team was unable to take the call, Weber attempted to fall back asleep during her shift at the AIRMED hangar at the Bemidji airport.
But she couldn’t. She sensed in her gut that something was not right – and she had a feeling it had to do with the call Weske had taken about 1 a.m.
At 5 a.m., her fears were confirmed.
“I knew something was wrong before I got the call,” she said. “My dispatch center called me on the radio. They asked me to call them on the phone. That is when one of the dispatchers notified me that an AirCare ship had went down. I was in complete and utter shock.”
Weske, who is a paramedic with North Memorial Air Ambulance service and a ground paramedic for Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and North Memorial ambulance, had been in the back seat of the helicopter when it crashed north of the Alexandria Municipal Airport about 2 a.m. The aircraft had been en route to pick up a patient at the Douglas County Hospital.
Others in the helicopter included Pilot Joshua Jones, 47, and flight nurse Scott Scepaniak, 44. Jones and Scepaniak remain in serious condition at North Memorial Medical Center.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Weber was informed that Weske had suffered fractures of his C2 and C3 vertebrae, a liver laceration, multiple broken ribs, a broken sternum, a broken femur, a broken ankle, collapsed lungs and blood in his lungs.
Initially, she was told that Weske’s chances of surviving the first day were poor. However, he pulled through those first 24 hours, but remains in critical condition at North Memorial.
“He continues to scare me,” Weber wrote on Weske’s CaringBridge site two days after the crash. “But more so, he amazes me with his strength. He wants to live – really freaking bad.”
Weske is on a ventilator and medications to keep his blood pressure up. He is battling an infection which is being treated with antibiotics, and is on dialysis for kidney failure.
On Sept. 23, he underwent surgery for a C1 and C4 vertebrae fusion. When the infection improves, Weske will have surgery for his broken femur and ankle and will eventually undergo surgery for his L1 vertebra as well.
Though the road to physical recovery is a long one, Weber says Weske is beginning to come around neurologically.
“He has not opened his eyes yet, but that is to be expected,” Weber wrote on CaringBridge. “He will blink, or squint rather, when I am talking to him and asking him questions.”
Though the past two weeks have been difficult ones, Weber says they aren’t without blessings.
“This event has taught me that there are so many good people in this world,” she said. “When bad events happen, people join together to show support. The support we have received is incredible. I just can't believe the amount of love that I have seen in the last week. Thank you to everyone that is thinking of us. Keep up the positive thoughts and prayers.”
Weber and Weske planned to marry Oct. 5, but will have to push the wedding date back until Weske recovers. For now, Weber, who already goes by Weber-Weske on social media, says she is just happy her fiance is alive.
“We are definitely something special,” she said. “We are that couple that could live together and work together and still want more time with each other. He is the most kind and selfless person I have ever met and I am so lucky to call him mine.”
Weske’s CaringBridge can be accessed at www.caringbridge.org/visit/milesweske.
A Go Fund Me account has also been created to aid with medical costs, and can be found at www.gofundme.com/milesweske.
NORTH MEMORIAL HEALTH CARE: http://registry.faa.gov/N91NM
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Minneapolis FSDO-15
N91NM AIR AMBULANCE AGUSTA A109S ROTORCRAFT, CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES IN A RESIDENTIAL AREA, THE 3 PERSONS ON BOARD SUSTAINED SERIOUS INJURIES, ALEXANDRIA, MINNESOTA.
Aircraft Make: AGUSTA
Aircraft Model: A109
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Serious
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)