A flight crew saved her sister’s life. Now, she’s UCHealth’s first female helicopter pilot

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LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — Samantha “Sam” Poirier remembers the day she almost lost her younger sister like it was yesterday.

At the time, she was working as a helicopter pilot in Washington state, using the blades to dry damp cherry trees outside of Wenatchee. 

“I got a phone call and they said she had life-threatening injuries, and that’s all we knew,” Sam said. “I was on the next plane out.”

Her sister, Savannah, had been involved in an ATV crash in Poudre Canyon outside of Fort Collins. 

She was life-flighted to the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland. 

“It was honestly kind of a blur,” said Savannah. My biggest memory is waking up and seeing Sam, and thinking, ‘This isn’t good.'” 

Savannah broke her back, and had injuries to her neck and head, before ultimately making a full recovery.

“For me, I told them thank you, but I just couldn’t tell them how thankful I was,” said Sam of the flight crew that saved Savannah’s life. “I could just never tell them thank you and have them understand it, so I said the only way I can thank them is to repay this same kind of gesture.” 

Poirier went back to school to get her instrument license, ultimately landing a job at the same hospital that saved her sister’s life. 

Last year, she became the first female pilot in LifeLine’s history, working as a Line Pilot for REACH, which contracts with UCHealth. 

“It’s neat because I have girls that follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, and younger girls come here and they say, ‘How do you do it?’” Sam said. “And I just say, ‘You have to set a goal and go after it, and you have to make it happen.'”

She says it’s beyond rewarding when patients come back to say thank you. 

“When patients come back and they thank us and say, ‘Thanks for saving my life,’ I truly know what it means to be on the other side,” Sam said. “So I’m grateful and deep down, I just know this is what I’m supposed to be doing.” 

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