City honors flight crew from UNMH helicopter crash

Pilot Dave Whorner, flight nurse Robyn Libassi and Albuquerque Fire Department Lt. Edward Nieto

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It was a scary crash that put the lives of a lot of people in danger. A medical helicopter spun out of control above University of New Mexico Hospital but thanks to the actions of those on board no one was seriously hurt that day.

On April 9th 2014, a routine lift-off went terribly wrong for a Phi medical helicopter. The crew had just dropped off a patient and was heading back up when it crashed on to the roof of the hospital.

Those on board the chopper were Pilot Dave Whorner, flight nurse Robyn Libassi and Albuquerque Fire Department Lt. Edward Nieto.

As the helicopter spun in the air the pilot worked to keep the chopper from falling off the roof. He succeeded, and was then knocked unconscious, along with the Lieutenant. Libassi was the only one alert.

Libassi was able to wake Nieto and that’s when the he realized the pilot was still unconscious and the helicopter, doused in fuel, was burning.

Friday Whorner, Libassi and Nieto were named Heroes of the Week. They were all very humble.

Since the crash they have all returned to work and are doing what they love, helping other people and yes, riding in helicopters.

Another thing that make the actions of Lieutenant Nieto so remarkable; as he was carrying the pilot to safety, he did it with multiple fractures in his leg. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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