Helicopter crash kills prominent local surgeon but spares his daughter

Posted at 10:53 PM, Oct 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 13:09:13-04

Sympathies are pouring in over the death of prominent local surgeon Jim Valentine. He and his daughter, Jordan, were involved in a helicopter crash in the Eastern Oregon desert last Friday.

Jim's daughter, badly injured, managed to survive a night in the freezing wilderness until help arrived.

Although mostly intact, Sheriff's officials say the front of the helicopter was ripped completely open.

Valentine, a licensed 52-year-old helicopter pilot and beloved surgeon, did not survive. His colleagues say the loss is immense.

"We've received comments and calls and emails from people around the region about how touched they were about the care he provided them. He's been a lifesaver for so many people." says Frank Johnson, VP of Medical Affairs at Saint Luke's Hospital.

Valentine's daughter Jordan was able to get out of the chopper.

Sheriff's officials say the 25-year-old was forced to find shelter by crawling around to the back of the helicopter where the wind was blocked. They say temperatures overnight were well below freezing.

The chopper went down Friday afternoon and wasn't found until 8:20 a.m. the next morning. Jordan is now recovering from her injuries at the hospital.

The Sheriff's Ooffice says the wreckage has been moved to a secure site. The NTSB says that means the on-scene investigation is over and a preliminary report is expected in two weeks.

Pilots tell us the helicopter involved is a entry level aircraft with an excellent safety history.