The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash of a medical airplane that broke apart in mid-air last month, killing three emergency responders near Bismarck, North Dakota.
On Nov. 18, pilot Todd Lasky, 48, nurse Bonnie Cook, 63, and paramedic Chris Iverson, 47, were aboard a Cessna 441 operated by Bismarck Air Medical. The plane was headed to Williston, North Dakota, from Bismarck to pick up a patient when it crashed around 10:40 p.m.
The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have not determined why the plane broke apart after it reached an altitude of about 14,000 feet, but they have ruled out some potential factors.
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said the twin-engine medical plane was not struck by anything, nor was there a fire involved, according to the Grand Forks Herald. Investigators don’t suspect the weather played a role in the plane crash either.
“There was no indication of any issues on the plane or a distress call made before the plane went missing,” Sheriff Kirchmeier said, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
In its preliminary report of the plane crash, the NTSB said the airplane was en route to Sloulin Field International Airport in Williston to pick up a neonatal infant patient for transport to Bismarck. The airplane “climbed on a direct course” and then entered into a “steep right bank and radar contact was lost,” the NTSB report states, adding that no distress calls were received.
Sheriff Kirchmeier told the Grand Forks Herald that the community awaits the NTSB’s final report, which will take six months to a year.
“There’s just a lot of questions surrounding this particular one because it hits home to a lot of people,” Sheriff Kirchmeier said, according to the Grand Forks Herald. “That’s why we’re trying to complete the investigation, but we want to make sure that we’re respectful to the families and the people it affected as we move forward.”