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NTSB Begins Investigation into Deadly EagleMed Crash
Investigators have started to piece together the cause from the deadly helicopter crash Friday morning. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration is also involved.
The NTSB said they could not speculate as to the cause of the EagleMed helicopter crash. Initial looks into the flight show no problems on-board the helicopter, investigators said.
""We have satellite tracking information that indicates that everything initially from the initial take-off was normal," Alex Lemishko, the NTSB's lead investigator on this crash said. "Reported at this time, there were no radio or distress calls from the pilot that would indicate any sort of a problem during the initial phase of the flight."
"This was a certified helicopter. It was airworthy as per FAA standards. It had flown just a couple of days before," Lemishko said.
Lemishko said witnesses saw a flash of some kind coming from the helicopter before it started to descend. The NTSB is looking into anything that could have caused the a flash to come from the aircraft, but said that the flash is just "one small piece of the puzzle."
"It's tragic... In this particular case, you have people that are working to save lives and here they're in an accident themselves. It's a tragedy," Lemishko said
The EagleMed helicopter took off from INTERGRIS Baptist Medical Center at 5:38 a.m. Friday. It crashed a short time later in a parking lot between the St. Ann's Nursing Home and St. Ann's Retirement Community, near Britton and Rockwell. The helicopter caught fire and exploded after the impact. No patients were on board.
The pilot, Mark Montgomery, and flight nurse, Chris Denning, died. Billy Wynne, a paramedic on board, survived the crash with critical injuries. He is being treated at a hospital in Dallas for severe burns to most of his body. The witness who reported the flash and some St. Ann's workers pulled Wynne from the burning wreckage, Lemishko said.
The helicopter was on-route to Watonga. A call came in about 4:30 a.m. for a cardiac patient, Lemishko said.
"The impact was pretty strong impact, hard impact and it’s just miracle that there was a survivor," Lemishko said.
The helicopter did not have an on-board recording device, like a black box. The NTSB said this kind of helicopter is not required to have one. Lemishko has looked through surveillance video from INTERGRIS when the plane took off, and said nothing looked unusual. He said surveillance video from Saint Ann's caught just a glimpse of the crash.
The NTSB said it would take six months to a year to conclude the investigation. A preliminary report should be completed in the coming days.
Posted: Saturday, February 23 2013, 09:52 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Search continues in creek for missing Okla. teen
May 25, 2013 22:59 GMT
KINGFISHER, Okla. (AP) -- Authorities continue to search for a Kingfisher teenager who disappeared after jumping into Uncle John Creek.
Police say 17-year-old Taylor Faine jumped into the creek Thursday and did not resurface. Kingfisher Fire Chief Randy Poindexter told The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/10s2oB6 ) on Saturday that manmade dams have been built in hopes of finding Faine's body.
Authorities say Faine was swimming with friends in an area where no swimming signs are in place because of dangerous currents in the creek.
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