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Home > Topics > Air Medical Transport

Investigation begins into Okla. air medical crash

Two men in the helicopter, including the pilot, were killed

The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The company that operates a medical helicopter that crash-landed outside an Oklahoma City nursing home early Friday, killing two people onboard and critically injuring a third, had just recently undergone an exhaustive accreditation process, officials said.

Wichita, Kan.-based EagleMed LLC just received its three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Services in October, said Eileen Frazer, the commission's executive director.

The company's review included an analysis of maintenance records of all its aircraft and crew, including pilots.

A three-man crew was onboard the helicopter when it crashed while headed from Oklahoma City to Watonga, 70 miles away, to pick up a patient, said Fire Department Battalion Chief Marc Woodard. No one on the ground was seriously injured or killed.

Two men in the helicopter, including the pilot, were killed, Nursing home workers were able to pull the lone survivor from the wreckage, and he was taken to a hospital, Woodard said.

Officials at Integris-Baptist Medical Center, where the helicopter was based, identified those killed as pilot Mark Montgomery and flight nurse Chris Denning. Paramedic Billy Wynn was in critical condition Friday evening at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, Integris President Bruce Lawrence said in an email to employees.

A spokesman for EagleMed did not return telephone messages on Friday.

The crash occurred between the St. Ann Retirement Center and the St. Ann Nursing Home, which are operated by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Witnesses said there were two explosions.

"I was awake and I heard this boom and it shook my bed," said Betty Steel, who lives in a retirement village adjacent to the nursing home.

Rachel Njafuh said when she arrived for work at the nursing home, flames and smoke were pouring from the wreckage.

"My colleagues pulled a man from the (helicopter) just before a second explosion," she said.

Oklahoma City received a dusting of snow from a large storm system that has been moving eastward through the nation's midsection this week. Woodard said the skies were clear Friday morning when the helicopter crash-landed in the northwest of the city.

"I think the pilot did a miraculous job landing it where he did," Woodard said. "It's 65 feet from a nursing home on one side and 150 feet from a retirement village on the other."

Federal Aviation Administration investigators were at the scene within hours, combing through the helicopter's charred remains. An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board was en route late Friday afternoon, an NTSB spokesman said.

One person on the ground suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene, said Lara O'Leary, a spokeswoman with Emergency Medical Services Authority.

In July 2010, an EagleMed helicopter crashed in a field in Kingfisher, about 50 miles northwest of Oklahoma. The helicopter's pilot and a nurse onboard the aircraft were killed in the crash.

Associated PressCopyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

On that flight, the EagleMed helicopter was headed from Oklahoma City to pick up a patient at a hospital 90 miles away. The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet released a probable-cause report from the 2010 crash.

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Connie Wheeler-Buckallew Connie Wheeler-Buckallew Saturday, February 23, 2013 7:13:23 PM Prayers for there families.
C Ray McCurley C Ray McCurley Saturday, February 23, 2013 7:22:00 PM My prayer go out for them all and there families.
Derick Robinson Derick Robinson Tuesday, February 26, 2013 6:51:31 PM My heart goes out to the families of those in this tragic crash and to the coworkers of those three great men. Eaglemed and Integris Baptist Medical Center are both great organizations to work for and they have as well just lost a great deal, and I have no doubt they will do everything possible to get answers for those who need them. Again my heart goes out to all those who are directly effected by this tragedy
Christopher Savage Christopher Savage Thursday, February 28, 2013 12:38:31 PM Mark Montgomery. One of the best men I have ever known. I had the honor to fly with this man many years ago. God Bless.
Scott Best Scott Best Wednesday, March 27, 2013 4:34:25 PM From the NTSB on th7/22/2010 Crash: On July 22, 2010, approximately 1925 central daylight time, a Eurocopter AS 350 B2, N918EM, owned and operated by EagleMed LLC, was destroyed upon impact with terrain near Kingfisher, Oklahoma. A post-crash fire ensued. The commercial pilot and one flight nurse were fatally injured. One paramedic flight nurse was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules (VFR) company flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 positioning flight. The helicopter departed Integris Baptist Medical Hospital Heliport (OK19), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at 1913 to pick up a patient in Okeene, Oklahoma. A witness observed the helicopter as it was flying through a sparse tree line. He described the helicopter in a nose-high attitude with a rotational movement around the tail boom section. The tree line obscured his vision of the crash sequence. The helicopter's position was monitored using Sky Connect, configured to report a position about every five minutes. The last position report was given at 1919 when the helicopter was at 1,509 feet mean sea level, flying northwest at 131 knots. This last reported position was approximately 11 nautical miles southeast of the accident site. -- With the rotational movement describedin the second paragraph , it's likely that there was a tail rotor/fan malfunction. It's unusual though that a likely report has yet to be filed.

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