Firefighter Dies After Falling Out of Helicopter During Training Exercise in Delaware

A volunteer firefighter died from his injuries after he fell during a training exercise in Georgetown, Delaware.

The incident occurred Monday around 6:45 p.m. at the Delaware Coastal Airport on 21553 Rudder Lane. The Delaware State Police Aviation Unit was conducting a routine training exercise with the Delaware Air Rescue Team(DART), which is made up of volunteer firefighters throughout Delaware.

During the training exercise a pilot, trooper medic and two volunteer firefighters were on board a helicopter. One of the firefighters stepped out onto the skid of the helicopter and fell from an unknown height onto a grassy area below, officials said.

Police later identified the deceased as Tim McClanahan, 46, from Lewes, Delaware. Medics took McClanahan to Beebe Healthcare where he was later pronounced dead.

The Lewes Fire Department also released a statement on his death on Facebook.

"It is with deep, deep regret that the Officers and Members of the Lewes Fire Department announce the passing of one of our own earlier today," a spokesperson wrote. "Further details on remembrance services are to follow."

A volunteer firefighter died from his injuries after falling out of a helicopter during a training exercise in Georgetown, Delaware.


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Gov. Jack Markell also expressed condolences:

"My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. McClanahan’s family during this difficult time," said the Democrat in a news release. "He was an exemplary public servant, who volunteered to serve his community despite the risks of being a firefighter. The greatest honor we can pay to Tim and his family is to keep his memory alive, allowing his dedication to serving the public to continue to inspire us, while reminding us of the sacrifices our first responders, police officers, and firefighters make every day to keep us safe."

Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Delaware State Police are investigating the incident.

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