Police release names of 2 killed in helicopter crash

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 April 2022 at 7:42 pm

Mercy Flight temporarily suspending operations ‘to allow time for our employees to process the event, and to ensure the complete safe mechanical operation of our other helicopters’

ELBA – State Police have released the names of the two people killed in a helicopter crash today at about 1 p.m. in Elba.

Mercy Flight pilot, James E. Sauer, 60, of Churchville and a Bell Helicopter employee/pilot Stewart M. Dietrick, 60, of Prosper, TX, were pronounced deceased at the scene. Sauer is a retired New York State Police civilian pilot.

“It goes without saying that our attention needs to be focused on the families of those lost and on our own employees as we deal  with this unspeakable tragedy,” said Margaret  Ferrentino, Mercy Flight’s  President. “This is a very dark day for the  Mercy Flight family. We are so  grateful for the expressions of  love, concern and support expressed by many.”

State Troopers and other emergency personnel responded to the crash off Norton Road between Edgerton Road and Ford Road in Elba, Genesee County.

Further investigation revealed that the Mercy Flight Bell 429 helicopter based out of Batavia was on a training mission during the time of the collision, State Police said. Mercy Flight said the two were in the helicopter for Mercy Flight’s annual Bell Helicopter factory training.

Sauer and Dietrick were pronounced deceased at the scene. Both have been transported to Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The State Police Forensic Identification Unit, Collision Reconstruction Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, NYS DEC, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Batavia Fire Department and Elba Fire Department assisted in the investigation.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be assisting in this investigation, to try to determine the cause of the crash.

“Mercy Flight has temporarily suspended operations in order to allow time for our employees to process the event, and to ensure the complete safe mechanical operation of our other helicopters pending a preliminary accident team investigation,” said Scott Wooton, Mercy Flight’s Executive Vice  President. “The Mercy Flight Communications Center will remain operational and will refer any requests to other area resources who are standing by to assist.”