Four, Including Infant Patient, Killed in Texas Medical Copter Crash: Fourth Helicopter Crash this week : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Mar 10, 2000 - 03:16 PM

Four, Including Infant Patient, Killed in Texas Medical Copter Crash

The Associated Press

DALHART, Texas (AP) - A medical evacuation helicopter crashed in fog in the Texas Panhandle today, killing four people, including an infant patient.

The Life Star helicopter left Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo this morning to pick up a 4-month-old baby in respiratory distress in Boise City, Okla., and was returning at the time of the crash, said Moody Chisholm, the hospital's chief executive officer.

A pilot and two crew members also were aboard the twin-engine BO-105 American Eurocopter, he said.

All four people were killed, said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike Cox. Wreckage of the craft was found at about 10:45 a.m. 20 miles north of Dalhart, which is about 70 miles north of Amarillo, said John Clabes, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

Because of fog in the Boise City area, a ground ambulance met the helicopter 14 miles south of town, and the craft took off shortly after 6 a.m., Cox said. The crew was not heard from after that.

The patient's parents left the Boise City area in a car about the same time the helicopter took off for the 110-mile flight, said Chisholm.

"The parents did not know (the helicopter) was missing until they arrived here," he said.

Flags were at half-staff at the small Amarillo hospital. Other helicopter pilots gathered in the hallways, hugging and crying.

Chisholm said Lauren Stone, a 30-year old flight nurse, and Terry Griffith, a 35 year-old flight paramedic, were killed in the crash.

Stone had been an employee of the hospital for five years. Griffith had been with the hospital for seven years, he said.

The names of the pilot and patient have not been released.

Doug Wigington of the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators were en route to the crash scene.

"We don't know whether he hit power lines or had a mechanical failure," Wigington said. "We are also looking to see if weather might be a possible cause."

Chisholm said it's the first Life Star accident in Northwest Texas Healthcare System's history. The hospital has had the helicopter service since 1993, he said.

TEMSCO Helicopters Inc., a Ketchikan, Alaska-based company, leases the craft and the pilot to the hospital.

"We've had no problems with that craft whatsoever," said TEMSCO manager Bill Gale.

It has been 12 years since the last fatal crash of a TEMSCO helicopter, he said. The company operates 39 helicopters around the United States.

-- Carl Jenkins (, March 10, 2000


Bad Fuel??Alas Australia??

-- Watching (hope@not.good), March 10, 2000.

Alas, piloting and flying in medical, law enforcement, or search and rescue helicopters is among the most hazardous professions one can engage in. They fly in all types of weather and in areas that no other aircraft would fly. Our sheriff's department has put five helicopters into the ground in the past 20 years, all but one fatal to all aboard. The crews of these helicopters are among our unsung heroes.

-- Jim Cooke (, March 11, 2000.

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