Inspectors from the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are reviewing the crash of a University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Med Flight helicopter. A press release from UW Health Public Affairs reports the helicopter and crew left the La Crosse Airport at approximately 10:30 Saturday night, after having transported a patient from Madison to Gunderson Lutheran Hospital. No communication was received from the crew after departure, and searchers located the crash site, about four miles from the airport, at about 8:40 Sunday morning.
According to the press release , the aircraft was a new American Eurocopter EC13, leased in the last year from Air Methods. UW officials had no details on what might have happened. Preliminary reports indicate that the aircraft may have flown into a hill and/or struck some trees. Following standard protocol, the second Med Flight helicopter has been temporarily taken out of service.
Investigators say weather does not appear to be factor in the crash, even though it was raining at the time the helicopter took-off. Fog, did prevent crews from searching for the wreckage by air.
The dead are identified as Dr. Darren Bean, Registered Nurse Mark Coyne and Pilot Steve Lipperer. Lipperer was considered to be a veteran pilot.