(USNewsBreak.com) – In a disturbing trend, it seems new media stories about helicopter crashes take place every time a person turns around. Over the past few years, a concerning increase in the number of accidents has occurred, many involving the military. Another chopper crashed recently, claiming the lives of three people.
On late Saturday, January 20, an air ambulance crew in Weatherford, Oklahoma, was returning from completing a patient transport to the hospital when the helicopter, a Bell 206L3, went down. A statement on Facebook by the Air Evac Lifeteam revealed that three crew members died in the accident.
Three crewmembers killed in Oklahoma medical helicopter crash after transporting patient https://t.co/lxMPo2dwXW
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 22, 2024
The control center lost contact with the helicopter just before 11:30 p.m. Other Air Evac teams joined law enforcement in searching for the aircraft and the crew members. Though they found the wreckage, they didn’t publicly identify the location, nor did they disclose the names of the crew onboard right away. However, on Monday, the company revealed in a statement to news outlet KOCO that the victims were flight nurse Adam Tebben, pilot Russell Haslam, and flight paramedic Steven Fitzgerald.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has since taken over the investigation. The agency will examine all the factors involved, including radar data, air traffic control communications, witness statements, and weather reports. Officials will also do a 72-hour background check on the pilot to determine whether any issues might have contributed to the accident.
According to The New York Times, the agency noted that it “does not determine cause in the early part” of the process. Instead, it’s simply a “fact-gathering” mission. The preliminary report will probably take at least a month to complete, and the agency could require between one and four years to produce the full report.
Air Evac Lifeteam operates in 18 states with more than 150 air ambulance bases. Most of the patient transports it provides are in rural areas.
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