Fallen Crew Members
In the winter of 1983 AirMed experienced the pain and loss of it's first fallen crew member. AirMed pilot Louis Mertz received a request for flight to Utah County. The flight was turned down due to weather. After a few more checks on the weather and the pilots desire to get the patient to a better equipped facility the decision was made to attempt the flight. Louis took off from The University of Utah helipad, he flew over the stadium and circled a couple of times and again determined the weather was not good enough to go south. In the meantime a squall had encompassed the U and completely obscured it. Weather had come in all around him. Louis thought he could vector himself the short distance back to where he could see the pad and land safely. Unfortunately it was not possible and Louis flew into the mountainside just south of the “U” on the hill. Lou loved flying and he loved his job. He was a jokester and always made everyone laugh. The ground pad was named in his honor and held that name until the new pad was built.
On January 11, 1998 AirMed lost 3 of our family. During a snowstorm and rescue of a back country skier in Little Cottonwood Canyon, AirMed 4 struck the canyon wall. After a heroic search by Salt Lake Search and Rescue as well as Snowbird Ski Patrol the wreckage was found on the North side of the canyon. Due to the severity of the storm and amount of snowfall the SAR crews were unable to reach the site until the morning of the 12th. Along with the crew, the patient was also lost in the crash.
Tim was a paramedic and battalion chief with Salt Lake City Fire Department. He had flown with AirMed since 1982. Tim was the past president of the National Flight Paramedic Association and was active on the Utah State Air Ambulance Committee. He also was the past Chief Flight Paramedic for AirMed. He was survived by two children.
Stan was the Chief Pilot for AirMed at the time of the crash. He had flown over 300 missions for AirMed over the past 2 years. He was a retired Army pilot and Vietnam veteran. Stan had been in many positions at Air Method’s including management and an instructor. He was survived by his wife and three children.
Shayne had been on the AirMed team for only 9 months at the time of the crash. He left a wonderful family of a wife and 4 children. He enjoyed the outdoors and was on the Snow Basin Ski Patrol.
We also lost our Bell 222 that cold January day. She had flown countless missions and helped our crew save many lives. We know she struggled against the wind and snow to save our friends. Ultimately she lost that fight.