The firefighter fell from a helicopter during State Police Aviation Unit training exercise.


Delaware State Police have identified the firefighter killed Monday as Tim McClanahan, 46, of Lewes.

The Lewes fire department's website identifies McClanahan as having been the department’s second assistant engineer, second assistant chief, third assistant chief, fourth assistant engineer, sixth assistant engineer, captain, marine captain, rescue captain, and engine captain. He also was recognized as a Fireman of the Year.

The investigation is continuing, said DSP spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz.


Police are still investigating the death of a 46-year-old Lewes man who fell from a helicopter during a training exercise Monday.

According to Delaware State Police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz, the preliminary investigation has determined at approximately 6:45 p.m. Monday, the Delaware State Police Aviation Unit was conducting a routine training exercise with the Delaware Air Rescue Team (DART), which is comprised of volunteer firefighters throughout the state and troopers assigned to the Aviation Unit. This incident occurred at the Delaware Coastal Airport located at 21553 Rudder Lane, Georgetown.

According to a press release, during the training exercise a pilot and trooper medic were on board along with the two volunteer firefighters. As one of the fir fighters stepped out onto the skid of the helicopter he fell from an undetermined height onto a grassy area below the aircraft. At that point the helicopter landed and the trooper medic and volunteer firefighter on board, as well as nearby volunteer fir fighters, rushed over to the fallen victim and immediately rendered medical assistance.

Sussex County Paramedics and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and transported the 46 year old male from Lewes to Beebe Healthcare where he was pronounced deceased.

The investigation is in the early stages and the Federal Aviation Administration will be the lead investigative agency with the assistance of the Delaware State Police. At this point the name of the firefighter will be withheld pending notification of next of kin.