Family photo
James Taylor, seen here in an undated family photo, survived a mid-air collision between two medical helicopters in Flagstaff Sunday. Taylor is a flight nurse for Classic Helicopter Service of Utah. He is also a nurse for St. Marks Hospital in Salt Lake City.

National Transportation Safety Board officials are still trying to determine what caused a mid-air collision of two helicopters that killed six people and injured a Utah nurse.

The lone survivor of the crash, James Taylor, 36, of Eagle Mountain, remained in critical condition Wednesday at the Flagstaff Medical Center, according to hospital spokeswoman Carrie Heinonen. His condition has not changed since his admittance.

Taylor's family issued a statement offering condolences to the families of the deceased and thanking an off-duty paramedic who extracted Taylor from the copter and saved his life. "You are our hero," the statement reads.

"Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family members of those who lost their lives while trying to save others," the statement read. "Our thoughts and prayers are with you."

Taylor was an emergency nurse at Intermountain Medical Center, where he worked for 17 years, and also at St. Mark's Hospital where he worked for four months.

On June 29, one of the helicopters was transporting a patient from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and the other was transporting a patient from Winslow, Ariz., to Flagstaff Medical Center when the two Bell 407s collided. Classic Helicopters of Woods Cross was operating the helicopter Taylor was in when it crashed. Air Methods of Englewood, Colo. operated the other.

The statement from Taylor's family also thanked friends, neighbors and co-workers for the "hundreds of calls and well wishes."

"James is our hero. The love he has for his wife and three children is beyond measure. His three sons are his pride and joy. He is happiest spending time with them, watching movies, playing ball, watching the Red Sox and just being together.

"James truly loves making the commute from Salt Lake City to fly with Classic Lifeguard. He is proud that his job gives him the opportunity to serve those in such dire need. He truly loves his job as a flight nurse," the release states.

A fund has been set up in Taylor's name at any Zion's Bank. His family says Taylor has a long road to recovery ahead of him, but he is fighting "with all his might. It is a long, hard battle, but he will win the war."


E-mail: lwilde@desnews.com