Medical helicopter crashes in Tucson, Arizona, kills all on board

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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Eurocopter AS350B3 is an aircraft type commonly used for medical evacuation (file photo)
Image: Benjamint444 / Wikimedia Commons.

A medical helicopter crashed into a fence just outside a house in Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday afternoon, killing all three crew members on board. The crash occurred at 1:42 p.m. Arizona time (21:42 UTC) at the intersection of Glenn Street and Park Avenue. Eyewitness Ricardo Carrasco said that he saw the rotors stop working and the helicopter start plummeting towards the ground, with the pilot attempting to steer it away from the house.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the helicopter was a Eurocopter AS350B3 flown in the LifeNet Arizona fleet. It was operated by the Colorado-based Air Methods Corporation, which specializes in flying emergency medical helicopters.

"This is a sad day for all of us at Air Methods and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of our employees who perished while on duty," Air Methods Corporation CEO Aaron Todd said after the crash.

Two other fatal aviation accidents were reported in the United States on Wednesday. In Alaska, a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport plane crashed while preparing for an air show, killing all four crew members. Earlier, Delaware, Ohio city councilman and airport commissioner James Moore died when his rented light plane crashed and caught fire close to the city's airport.