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Helicopter Crash Kills 3, Puts Transplant On Hold

December 27, 2011 by staff 

Helicopter Crash Kills 3, Puts Transplant On HoldHelicopter Crash Kills 3, Puts Transplant On Hold, (AP) – Three people were killed when a helicopter on its way to retrieve a heart for transplant crashed in northern Florida, leaving the patient to wait for another organ to become available.

The helicopter crashed at 5:53 a.m. Monday, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

Bergen said no flight plan was filed for the helicopter, which was headed to a Gainesville hospital, Shands at the University of Florida.

Clay County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Russ Burke told The Florida Times-Union the helicopter originally left the St. Augustine airport.

The helicopter was carrying heart surgeon Dr. Luis Bonilla and procurement technician David Hines of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Sheriff’s officials say the name of the pilot has not been released.

Mayo Clinic spokesman Layne Smith said the heart they were to pick up could not be used in another transplant because its viability expired. The patient is back on the waiting list for a new organ.

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