Volunteer firefighter dies in fall from state police helicopter during training exercise

GEORGETOWN – Routine training turned deadly Monday evening as a volunteer firefighter fell from the Delaware State Police helicopter to his death at the Delaware Coastal Airport.

Following notification of next of kin, state police identified the deceased firefighter as Tim McClanahan, 46, of Lewes.

20 TRAGEDY mcclanahan portrait

Tim McClanahan

The tragedy occurred at 6:45 p.m. July 11 as the Delaware State Police Aviation Unit was conducting routine training with the Delaware Air Rescue Team, state police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz said.

DART is comprised of volunteer firefighters throughout the state and troopers assigned to the DSP Aviation Unit.

During the exercise a pilot, trooper medic and two volunteer firefighters were on board.

As one of the firefighters stepped out onto the skid of the helicopter he fell from an undetermined height onto a grassy area below the aircraft, Sgt. Bratz said.

The helicopter landed and the trooper medic and volunteer firefighter on board as well as nearby volunteer firefighters rushed to the victim and immediately rendered medical assistance.

Sussex County Paramedics and Emergency Medical Services transported the man to Beebe Healthcare where he was pronounced dead, Sgt. Bratz said.

The investigation is in the early stages.

The Federal Aviation Administration will be the lead investigative agency with the assistance of the Delaware State Police.

The Lewes Fire Department Station 82 web site is paying tribute to Mr. McClanahan, a past recipient of the Fireman of the Year award. He also held positions of 2nd Assistant Engineer, 2nd Assistant Chief, 3rd Assistant Chief, 4th Assistant Engineer, 6th Assistant Engineer, Captain 82-21, Marine Captain, Rescue Captain, Engine Captain, and Captain 82-26.

20 McClanahan tribute

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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