Community raises funds to bring Utahn injured in helicopter crash in Russia home

Posted at 7:02 PM, Apr 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-21 21:02:21-04

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah man is hoping to be reunited with his family after he was involved in a helicopter crash in Russia.

Mike Trabert’s insurance doesn’t cover the cost of medical transportation, so the tennis community is raising money to bring him home.

The 60-year-old managed the Salt Lake Tennis and Health Club at one time and now teaches at the facility. His absence is definitely being felt.

Rick Foulger is a long-time friend who works with Trabert.

“He's a big ball of love is what he is," he said.

Trabert’s first love is tennis.

“His dad is Tony Trabert. He's an American treasure,” Foulger said.

But Foulger says Mike is also an avid outdoorsman.

“They go skiing almost every year somewhere in the world, helicopter skiing, and they picked Russia," he said.

While visiting Russia with a friend, Mike was involved in a helicopter crash.

“They were flying up to a volcano to ski down it. Apparently, they had some trouble with the helicopter,” Foulger said.

Everyone onboard survived. Mike broke his neck and several ribs. Days later, he is still in Russia.

He’s unable to leave because his insurance doesn’t cover the cost of his medical flight from Russia to Utah.

“They've got him in some type of hospital, and he's just basically laying there," Foulger said. "That's why we're trying to get him home just as fast as we can, so he can get proper medical care."

His family has set up a Gofundme page Thursday, and by Friday night they had surpassed their goal of $110,000.

People have also dropped off donations to the tennis and health club.

“It's been really kind of a cool, interesting experience to see the love and outpouring of support, and it doesn't surprise me," Foulger said.

The family hopes to have Mike on a medical plane back home by this weekend. Rick looks forward to having his friend back on the court.

“He's as good as it gets," he said.

Click here to visit the GoFundMe page.