Mason Cooper thanks the medical team who saved his life in May 2020

Helicopter crash survivor reunites with first responders
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 3:28 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2022 at 9:56 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Two years ago, 7-year-old Mason Cooper survived a plane crash that killed his father and uncle as the plane took off from the Pineville Municipal Airport.

Kellie Lewis has seen a lot of memorable things come into the ER over the years, but May 31, 2020 was definitely a day she will not forget.

“I remember getting him in the room and he was just kind of just squealing and screaming,” Lewis said. “Trauma team came in and we did all the things, and once we got pediatrics in, we intubated him, then we realized nobody was here.”

That patient was 7-year-old Mason Cooper. He had just survived a plane crash that killed his father Blake, and Blake’s twin brother, Ben.

Blake Cooper was the executive director of the Central Louisiana Regional Port. Ben was the owner and administrator of Oceans Behavioral Health.

The trio were in a private Piper plane. Ben was the pilot. According to the NTSB report, the plane took off from the Pineville Municipal Airport around 1:30 p.m. that Sunday. Witnesses said the plane struggled to clear the trees at the end of the runway. It turned left, banked east and then went down.

“We were able to get him (Mason) headed to the ambulance,” said Paramedic Amy Guidry. “We had fire department and others cutting trees and logs to get a clear path to the ambulance for him.”

Mason was in the Pediatric ICU at Rapides Regional. He had multiple broken bones and organ trauma, and his kidneys had started to fail.

Dr. Matthew Linger was part of the trauma team that day. “The Pediatric ICU took really good care of him,” Linger said. “It kind of speaks to the system that has been built here.”

Mason, now 10, has made a full recovery. And for the first time, he had a chance to thank the team who helped him survive.

Mason’s mom, Lindsay Jeter, said through the tragedy, her faith remained strong.

“I started praying on my way to the hospital,” Jeter said. “I am telling you I had a peace that is unexplainable because it is not of us.”

And each day since with Mason has reaffirmed her faith.

“There is nothing, nothing God cannot do,” Jeter said. “I have learned how to trust him like truly and intimately trust him with everything with every fiber of my being.”

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