FAA investigates after Boston MedFlight pilot alleged to have fallen asleep

A patient was loaded onto a Boston MedFlight helicopter in 2012.
A patient was loaded onto a Boston MedFlight helicopter in 2012.Globe Staff/File

Federal authorities are investigating after a Boston MedFlight pilot was alleged to have fallen asleep at the controls of a helicopter with a patient aboard during a flight to a Boston hospital from Martha’s Vineyard in June.

The incident allegedly occurred on June 24, and the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, a spokesman for the agency confirmed Friday evening.

Boston MedFlight indicated it had probed “an incident that occurred during a patient transport in June in which a pilot overflew” a designated helipad. Ultimately, the patient transport was completed successfully, according to the company, and no one was injured.

The pilot in question no longer works for MedFlight, the organization said.


“Our investigation determined that fatigue was a factor and we are now working with a fatigue management consultant and a safety consultant to review our policies and procedures so that this isolated incident does not happen again,” said Boston MedFlight chief executive Maura Hughes in a statement.

“Throughout our 34-year history as a nonprofit organization providing critical care medical transport to over 75,000 patients in need, the safety of our patients and crews has always been our highest priority.”

According to its website, Boston MedFlight flies more than 1,840 critical care transport missions annually, with an average of five flights a day.

Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.