NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


February 2, 2009

The National Transportation Safety Board today released additional information about the Board's scheduled public hearing on the safety of Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) operations.

The four-day hearing will convene at 9:00 a.m. on February 3, 2009 at the NTSB's Board Room and Conference Center, 429 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Washington, D.C.

Helicopter EMS operations provide an important service to the public by transporting seriously ill patients or donor organs to emergency care facilities. The pressure to safely and quickly conduct these operations in various environmental conditions (for example, inclement weather, at night, and unfamiliar landing sites for helicopter operations) has the potential to make HEMS operations more at risk than normal passenger carrying operations.

There will be witnesses from many EMS communities including pilots, medical personnel, managers, and FAA.  The issues that will be discussed during the hearing include:

The goal of the upcoming hearing is for the Safety Board to learn more about helicopter EMS operations so that it can better evaluate the factors that lead to accidents. The Board will invite expert witnesses to provide sworn testimony. The majority of these witnesses will participate as part of small panels addressing particular safety issues. Additionally, several organizations will be granted party status to the hearing so that they may question the witnesses directly.

Note to Media:   ABC News has been designated to provide the pool coverage of the hearing proceedings for the television networks for Tuesday, February 3.  For questions regarding the pool, please call Fox News, the pool Chair, at 202-824- 6369.

The hearing will be webcast. An agenda and webcast are posted on the Board's website.  To report any problems, please call 703-993-3100 and ask for Webcast Technical Support.  

In the event of inclement weather please check our website for hearing cancellations and postponements.

Directions to the NTSB Board Room: Front door located on Lower 10th Street, directly below L'Enfant Plaza. From Metro, exit L'Enfant Plaza station at 9th and D Streets escalator, walk through shopping mall, at the CVS store (on the left), and take escalator (on the right) down one level. The Board room will be to your left.

NTSB Media Contact:
Keith Holloway
(202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.