OKLAHOMA CITY, OK–A medical helicopter carrying three men crashed early in the morning Feb. 22 just after it took off from an Oklahoma City hospital, killing two and critically injuring the other.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent investigators to the scene to begin a probe into what caused the EagleMed AS-350 Eurocopter to crash between St. Ann’s Retirement Center and St. Ann’s Nursing Home in Oklahoma City around 5:45 a.m. Nobody on the ground was injured in the crash, except for one person who ran to the wreckage to help.
Pilot Mark Montgomery and nurse Chris Denning died of their injuries at the scene, while paramedic Billy Wynne was taken to a Dallas hospital with critical injuries. His condition has since been upgraded to serious.
Firefighters who responded to the crash told KOCO News that three nurses from the nursing home heroically rushed to help the victims. They and other people who stopped when driving by the scene pulled Mr. Wynne from the wreckage just before it exploded.
The NTSB hasn’t yet determined what brought the EagleMed copter down, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a statement saying that Mr. Montgomery was not communicating with air traffic controllers when the crash occurred.
The crash was the second fatal crash in less than three years for an EagleMed helicopter. Two men were killed and one was critically injured in July 2010 after an EagleMed helicopter crashed near Okarche, Oklahoma. The NTSB has not determined what caused that crash, but witnesses said the helicopter started to descend in “an abnormal fashion” before it hit the ground and exploded. That crash also killed the pilot and flight nurse, while the paramedic on board survived with serious injuries.