Three Medical Helicopter Crew Die In Crash

 January 23, 2024

A devastating incident occurred late Saturday when an air ambulance helicopter crashed in Oklahoma, resulting in the tragic loss of three crew members.

The crash occurred on the east side of Hydro, a town in western Oklahoma, with the helicopter belonging to Air Evac Lifeteam.

After completing a patient transport to the capital, the aircraft, a Bell 206L3, was returning to its base in Weatherford, 70 miles west of Oklahoma City. The control center lost contact with the crew shortly before 11:30 pm on Saturday.

Search Efforts and Initial Investigations Begin

Upon losing contact, nearby Air Evac Lifeteam units and local law enforcement swiftly organized a search operation. The exact location where the helicopter was found has not been disclosed by the company.

As is typical with Air Evac Lifeteam crews, the team consisted of a pilot, a flight nurse, and a flight paramedic. However, the victims' identities have not yet been released.

Such incidents deeply affect the close-knit first responder community, highlighting the risks they face in their life-saving missions.

National Transportation Safety Board Takes Charge

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is spearheading the investigation into this tragic accident. The crash is believed to have occurred near the 1010 road, with local law enforcement securing the area around the crash site.

The NTSB's investigation will delve into various aspects, including air traffic control communications, radar data, and weather conditions at the time of the crash. Witness statements and a 72-hour background check of the pilot's history will also be scrutinized.

The NTSB aims to understand if any factors might have compromised the pilot's ability to safely operate the aircraft.

Detailed NTSB Investigation Underway

As per a spokesperson from the NTSB, the current phase is purely for gathering facts and does not involve determining the crash's cause.

The spokesperson emphasized to the New York Times that the National Transportation Safety Board (N.T.S.B.) does not establish the cause during the early stages of an investigation. This period is regarded as the fact-gathering phase.

This statement underscores NTSB's meticulous and methodical approach in such complex investigations.

Air Evac Lifeteam's Role in Rural Healthcare

Air Evac Lifeteam, which operates the ill-fated helicopter, is critical in providing medical transport. The company operates over 150 air ambulance bases across 18 states, as stated on its website.

Approximately 90% of their patient transports originate from rural areas, emphasizing the essential service they provide to communities often underserved by traditional medical facilities.

This tragedy brings to light not only the inherent dangers in air medical services but also the commitment of these teams to saving lives.

Community and Nation Mourn the Loss

The loss of the Air Evac Lifeteam members has cast a somber mood over the community and beyond. The dedication and bravery of first responders, who routinely risk their lives to serve others, are brought into sharp focus.

As investigations continue, the first responder community and the nation wait for answers while mourning the irreplaceable loss of their colleagues and friends.

While the NTSB's investigation will provide insights, it does little to ease the immediate sorrow felt by those connected to the victims and the broader first responder community.


  • A tragic helicopter crash in Oklahoma claims three crew members of Air Evac Lifeteam.
  • The crash occurred on the east side of Hydro, with the team returning from a patient transport mission to Oklahoma City.
  • NTSB conducted a detailed investigation, focusing on various factors that could have led to the crash.
  • Air Evac Lifeteam plays a critical role in providing medical transport, especially in rural areas.
  • The loss deeply impacts the first responder community and highlights the risks associated with their life-saving missions.

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