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Mon, Jun 30, 2008

Six Reported Lost In Arizona Medevac Helo Midair

Rosenker To Serve As Lead Spokesman For Investigation

ANN REALTIME UPDATE 06.30.08 1200 EDT: Officials now report six fatalities following the in-flight collision of two medevac helicopters Sunday afternoon near a Flagstaff, AZ hospital.

The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a Go Team to investigate the collision, which occurred at about 3:48 p.m. Mountain Standard Time and involved two Bell 407 EMS helicopters -- N407GA operated by Air Methods, and N407MJ operated by Classic Helicopters. The helos collided less than a mile from the Flagstaff Medical Center while both approached the hospital for landing.

Earlier reports of seven lives lost in the crash were revised early Monday, with the seventh victim now reported in critical condition.

 

NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator Aaron Sauer has been designated as Investigator-in-Charge and will lead a team of four investigators. NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker is accompanying the team and will serve as principal spokesman for the on-scene investigation.

Keith Holloway has accompanied the team as press officer, and three representatives of the Board's Transportation Disaster Assistance office are also accompanying the team.

Original Report

0001 EDT: Tragic news from Flagstaff, AZ, 130 miles north of Phoenix, as a midair collision involving two medical helicopters occurred Sunday afternoon with at least seven reported lost.

The Associated Press reports all three people aboard one of the helicopters were lost including a patient and the pilot. Four others are reported killed and three critically wounded though there has been no confirmation of they were all on the second helicopter or whether some were on the ground.

According Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Los Angeles, the collision occurred at 1545 local time. Both aircraft were Bell 407 commercial helicopters, one owned by Air Methods of Englewood, CO and the other by Classic Helicopters of Woods Cross, UT.

The collision occurred near Flagstaff Medical Center. Hospital spokeswoman Starla Addair said she did not have any information to release.

Coconino County sheriff's spokesman Gerry Blair added the crash started a 10-acre brush fire that authorities were able to extinguish.

FMI:  www.faa.gov

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