4 dead in medical helicopter crash in Central California

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4 People Killed in Medical Helicopter Crash in Kern County.

An air ambulance out of Visalia crashed in an isolated area of Kern County Thursday night, killing the crew of three and the critically ill patient they were transporting, officials said.BAKERSFIELD, CA (NBC) – Four people were killed after a medical helicopter crashed while flying to a hospital in California Thursday night, a Kern County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said.

The plane was traveling from Porterville Municipal Airport in Porterville to Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield when it crashed, Federal Aviation Administration and American Ambulance officials confirmed. Employees of American Ambulance, which operates SkyLife in partnership with Rogers Helicopters, had been at the company’s Christmas party when word of the air disaster spread. A preliminary report by the FAA showed the helicopter’s last known position, as of 6:50 p.m., was in Kern County near Sherwood Avenue and Highway 65, about 25 miles shy of the intended destination. Bad weather and rain hampered the efforts of searchers, an official with the Kern County Fire Department said. “We continue to pray vigilantly for our first responders and everyone involved,” San Joaquin Community Hospital president and CEO Doug Duffield said. The cause of the crash was under investigation, but a wind advisory had been issued in the area at the time and it may have been raining, the National Weather Service reported.

Lynch said the Bell helicopter was staffed by a “seasoned crew” of a pilot, a flight nurse and a flight paramedic. “They had been a team for quite some time,” he said. After checking with airport towers in Fresno and Bakersfield, the dispatch center notified Kern County authorities that the aircraft was missing and provided its last GPS reading east of McFarland.

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