Federal air-safety officials have dispatched teams to Flagstaff, Ariz., to investigate a midair crash involving two emergency medical service helicopters that killed six people aboard and critically injured another.
The crash happened Sunday afternoon, when the two EMS helicopters collided midair less than a mile from the 263-bed Flagstaff Medical Center while both approached the hospital for landing, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which has sent five investigators to the crash site. All three people a pilot, flight nurse and patientaboard one helicopter, operated by Classic Helicopters, died in the crash. A patient, a medic and the pilot of the other helicopter, operated by Air Methods, also perished. A nurse from the Air Methods craft survived and is in critical condition at Flagstaff Medical Center. Flagstaff Medical Center owns the helicopters operated by Air Methods and provides the medical crews.
Flagstaff Medical Center received three crash victims, two who died, the hospital said on its Web site. The hospital also treated three emergency responders injured at the scene, two who were released and one who is in good condition. The hospital declined to comment further on the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating. The hospital doesnt have flight-traffic controllers so helicopters are responsible for making sure they are clear to land, according to the agency. -- by Rebecca Vesely