The FAA did not name the controller it was investigating, nor did any other source.
The Daily Mail forwarded the email to the FAA and it confirmed by email Thursday that it was investigating those claims.
The FAA said a second controller was on duty when the helicopter was making its approach on Jan. 13 but was taking a break on the lower floor of the airport and did not hear the pilot's calls.
A second instance of the employee allegedly shirking his duties occurred during the day shift on March 2. Two air traffic employees allege they saw the controller sleeping while he was supposed to be working in the tower.
"The controller did not miss any radio calls from pilots, however the FAA strictly prohibits sleeping on position," the release said. "The controller involved in these incidents is no longer controlling air traffic and the FAA is proposing to terminate the controller."
Yeager Airport Director Rick Atkinson said he does not deal directly with the air traffic controllers as they are employed by the FAA.
He said he understood that the helicopter pilot on the Jan. 13 flight reached controllers at Executive Air, the private terminal across the runway from Yeager. Workers there apparently tried to phone the tower but had no luck. Eventually, a Yeager security guard went to the tower and knocked on the door, Atkinson said.
Atkinson said he was told the controller told the security guard he was in the restroom and the exhaust fans prevented him from hearing the helicopter pilot's radio calls.
Atkinson said no one at the airport other than the FAA employees had a key to the control tower at the time of the January incident. The National Guard now has been provided a key.
Atkinson said the air traffic controllers generally do a good job.
Cross and Burley with HealthNet agreed.
"We deal with the FAA every single day," Burley said. "They are sharp and they are professional. They know the importance of what we're doing."
Cross said it was an isolated incident; if it were a trend, HealthNet officials would have taken action immediately after the fact.
"I have no doubt that we'd be ringing their bells ASAP if we thought there was a real trend going on," Cross said.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.