Department of Transportation investigating crash of medical helicopter

 January 23, 2024

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg received a significant amount of criticism last year for his handling of a train derailment and toxic fire in East Palestine, Ohio.

According to the New York Post, an agency that Buttigieg oversees is now investigating a deadly helicopter crash in Oklahoma this past weekend. 

Medical evacuation helicopter went down after dropping off patient

The Post reported that the National Transportation Safety Board is looking into what caused a medical evacuation craft to go down on Saturday evening.

Three members of an Air Evac Lifeteam crew who were based out of Weatherford, Oklahoma boarded the helicopter after 11:00 p.m.

The crew took off after having just finished transporting a patient to Oklahoma City when the Bell 206L3 they were flying in lost contact with the control center at roughly 11:23 p.m.

The aircraft subsequently crashed near the town of Hydro, Oklahoma, which is located about 65 miles west of Oklahoma City.

Names of those killed have not been revealed

While it is known that the deceased consisted of a pilot, a flight nurse and a flight paramedic, Air Evac Lifeteam is providing little in the way of details about them.

"Our primary focus is on supporting the families and our team members," the Post quoted an Air Evac Lifeteam statement on Facebook as saying.

"[Critical Incident Street Management] teams have been sent to assist our team members during this time," the company explained.

"At this time we are not sharing the names of the crew members aboard the flight," it continued, adding,  "AEL has turned over the scene and investigation to the NTSB."

Fellow emergency evacuation company extends condolences

Tributes to the fallen team members appeared on social media, including from Air Methods, another emergency air medical services company.

"We are deeply saddened to hear about the accident that occurred over the [weekend]," Air Methods wrote in a post on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

"We extend our condolences to the families of the Air Evac Lifeteam [and] everyone impacted. While this is not an Air Methods program, we are a close-knit community and when one hurts, we all hurt," the company stressed.

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