6 Killed and 3 Are Injured as Copters Collide

By JOHN DOUGHERTY

Published: June 30, 2008

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Two medical helicopters collided on Sunday as one was taking off and the other landing, killing at least six people and critically injuring three others, officials said.

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Joe Ferguson/Arizona Daily Sun, via Associated Press

Rescue workers tend to a victim after two helicopters, one taking off and the other landing, collided near an Arizona hospital.


The New York Times

The crash occurred just east of Flagstaff Medical Center.

Three of those killed were aboard one of the helicopters, officials said, and the other three dead and one of the injured people were aboard the second aircraft.

The crash occurred near a mesa just east of Flagstaff Medical Center. Debris was spread over a 500-yard area, and one of the helicopters exploded on the ground, setting off a wildfire that burned 10 acres before firefighters brought it under control.

Two paramedics with Guardian Medical Service who rushed to the crash scene were knocked to the ground by the explosion and received slight injuries, officials said at a news conference. They were treated at the hospital and released, officials said.

The names of the dead and injured were not released.

Both of the helicopters were Bell 407 models, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Officials at the news conference, convened hours after the crash, did not reveal who owned the aircraft, but The Associated Press reported that one was operated by Air Methods of Englewood, Colo., and the other by Classic Helicopters of Woods Cross, Utah.

Matt Stein, a spokesman for Classic Helicopters, told The A.P. that his company’s crew was landing at the hospital carrying a patient from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Mr. Stein said the helicopter’s pilot, paramedic and patient all were killed. A flight nurse was in critical condition at Flagstaff Medical Center. He said the pilot had more than 10,000 hours of flight time.

On Friday, The A.P. reported, three men in a medical helicopter were injured when it crashed as it was picking up a patient near Ash Fork, about 50 miles west of Flagstaff.

New York Times

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