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Thu, Oct 16, 2008

Four Lost In Illinois Medevac Accident

Ninth Fatal Crash Of A Medical Helo This Year

The year has not been kind to the helicopter medevac industry... with eight fatal accidents through the first nine months of 2008. And, sadly, ANN must now report on the ninth fatal crash.

Two crewmembers, a flight nurse, and a one-year-old patient were killed Wednesday night, when their Bell 222 medevac helicopter went down in Aurora, IL. The helicopter was transporting the infant to Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago when it crashed in a field, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory told CNN.

The helicopter (similar to type shown above) crashed near a 750-foot radio tower. Aurora Assistant Fire Chief John Lane said the aircraft may have clipped one of the tower's guy wires.

"There is debris scattered 75 to 100 feet. There really is no aircraft left per se," Lane said.

The Bell was operated by Air Angels Inc, a private emergency medical transport service based in Bolingbrook, IL. The helicopter had picked up the infant from Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich, IL.

Police evacuated 16 apartment buildings near the accident site as a precaution, as crews inspected the tower for possible damage.

Wednesday's crash comes less than one month after the last fatal downing of a medevac helo. As ANN reported, a Maryland State Police Eurocopter Dauphin transporting two victims of an automobile accident crashed September 27 in night IFR conditions near Richie, MD. The helicopter's pilot was diverting to land at Andrews Air Force Base due to the dense fog when the aircraft impacted near a park trail.

Other fatal medevac accidents this year include the February 6 downing of a Eurocopter AS350 near South Padre Island, TX, that claimed three; a June 29 midair collision of two Bell 407s less than a mile from Flagstaff Medical Center in Arizona, which claimed seven; and the August 31 downing on takeoff of an Air Evac Lifeteam Bell 206, as three crewmembers were returning home from an exhibit at a community fundraiser.

Investigators with the FAA and NTSB were on site Thursday morning in Aurora, to being their latest grim investigation of a medevac accident.

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 992AA        Make/Model: B222      Description: 222, 230, 430
  Date: 10/15/2008     Time: 2358

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: AURORA   State: IL   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  N992AA, A BELL 222 ROTORCRAFT AIR ANGELS INCORPORATED AIRCRAFT, STRUCK AN
  ANTENNA AND CRASHED, THE FOUR PERSONS ON BOARD WERE FATALLY INJURED, 9
  MILES FROM DUPAGE AIRPORT, AURORA, IL

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   4
                 # Crew:   3     Fat:   3     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: CLEAR, VIS10,  WINDS LIGHT 4KT, A3014

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Air Ambulance      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: WEST CHICAGO, IL  (GL03)              Entry date: 10/16/2008

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.ntsb.gov

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