Carolina Lifecare

September 26, 2009 by  

Carolina Lifecare,  A medical helicopter crashed late Friday in a wooded area of Georgetown County killing three people on board after its crew had dropped a patient off at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, according to authorities.

The helicopter operated by Omniflight Helicopters, Inc., lost contact with its base at 11:16 p.m. Friday, Georgetown County Coroner Kenny Johnson said. A pilot, flight nurse and paramedic were aboard the helicopter when it crashed and there were no survivors, he said.

Officials have not released information about the crew.


Georgetown County officials were notified about the incident at 1:20 a.m. and found the wreckage off White Hall Road, Johnson said.

Company officials said in a release that the American Eurocopter AS350B2 helicopter took off from the Charleston airport at 11:08 p.m. Friday. The helicopter was headed to its base in Conway and was reported missing shortly after take-off from Charleston.

A search was initiated shortly after the aircraft failed to report in to Omniflight’s communications center, according to the release.

“Omniflight is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of its crew members and wishes to express its deepest regrets and sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives,” officials wrote in the statement.

A thunderstorm moved through the area shortly before the crash, according to the National Weather Service. The closest official observation station in Conway recorded at 11:15 p.m. Friday that winds were 8 mph and visibility was 10 miles and overcast at 1,000 feet.

According to preliminary information provided to the National Transportation Safety Board, Spokesman Peter Knudson said the crew transported a patient to MUSC in Charleston at
An investigator based in Virginia with the National Transportation Safety Board is on the way to the crash site today and will likely remain in the area for about three to five days to complete the on scene investigation, Knudson said.

A preliminary report about the crash should be available later this year, but the investigation will take about a year to complete, he said.

According to the Omniflight web site, the company’s South Carolina headquarters are in Charleston, but the private provider of air medical transportation has bases throughout the state.

The company operates 100 aircraft throughout the nation from 72 bases in 18 states, according to the site.

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