Alaska: Doctor charged over false request for helicopter

Image caption Civilian heliport operator Rich Kuziak was charged last month

A Massachusetts doctor has been charged with making a false report and other offences for falsely summoning a helicopter company to helicopter her in from the ground on the Mount McKinley range of Alaska.

Air Methods Corp told it was out of service because of an emergency, because it was on an emergency medical run, prosecutors said.

The reporting ended after officials questioned the woman.

The Federal Aviation Administration said its special investigator has been investigating.

Woman sought on Denali

The woman, identified as Kaarina Detorrea, was attempting to obtain emergency medical services to a long distance helicopter trek at the time.

She was notified by a special operator that when she called that Air Methods was ‘out of service’, she was told the service could not be dispatched, a report in the Anchorage Daily News quoted the woman as saying.

But Ms Detorrea reported being told that the operation was under way, as Air Methods had kept her in the loop that she was ‘okay and safe’.

Air Methods does not refer to Ms Detorrea by name, but a company statement confirmed she was a customer.

“When Ms Detorrea made a false report, we investigated and after a thorough investigation we removed her from our service with immediate effect and are offering to reimburse all her costs for the helicopter we were unable to use,” the statement said.

The Arctic and Himalayan Mountains Studies Centre was studying the Kaarina Dori community, which Ms Detorrea is associated with.

It was set up in 2009.

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