Thursday, 2 September 2010

No Clues yet in Fatal Arkansas Medical Helicopter Crash

A medical helicopter went down in the hills of central Arkansas this week, killing three crew members on board. The helicopter went down near Scotland in Van Buren County in the early hours of Tuesday morning. It had been on its way to pick up an injured victim from a traffic accident site, when it apparently exploded in midair. According to local sheriff's officials at the scene, it's fair to assume that the victims were killed on impact. The helicopter disintegrated to several pieces, and these were scattered across a large area.

The National Transportation Safety Board has sent an investigative team to the site. According to the investigators, they will look at mechanical malfunctioning of the helicopter and other issues that could have contributed to the crash. According to representatives of Air Evac Lifeteam, the company that operated the helicopter, it was equipped with night vision equipment. There seems to have been no distress call from the helicopter before the crash.

This is not the first medical helicopter crash involving an aircraft of Air Evac Lifeteam in recent years. In 2008, a helicopter owned by Air Evac went down in a cornfield in Indiana. Three people died in that crash. In 2007, another helicopter went down in Colbert County, Alabama killing three people on the helicopter. In 2006, another helicopter crashed in Northwest Arkansas, injuring three crewmembers and killing the patient who was being transported. Just last month, a medical helicopter had to make a crash landing in Tulsa, Oklahoma after a hydraulic failure. No one was injured in the crash.

In a span of just four years, 10 people have been killed in medical helicopter accidents involving air ambulances operated by Air Evac. This record of fatal crashes is likely to draw the attention of investigators and medical helicopter accident lawyers.

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