A medical helicopter carrying three people crashed in the Superstition Mountains in Pinal County Tuesday night, killing two and critical injuring one.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances about 20 miles east of Apache Junction. The aircraft was a Native Air ambulance helicopter and was travelling from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to Globe when it crashed in the "rugged terrain" of the Superstition Mountains.
A pilot and two medical crew members, a nurse and a paramedic, were on board, he said. No patients were on the flight.
PCSO is not releasing the names of any victims at this point. Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu said the surviving crew member signaled to rescue teams using a light and was taken to a Phoenix trauma hospital in very serious condition.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety was first notified of the crash at about 8 p.m. The agency was asked to be part of a search-and-rescue mission. Therein, a military aircraft extracted the survivor.
PCSO established a perimeter around the crash and will begin the joint investigation with the FAA once daylight breaks, he said.
IS THERE LIABILITY HERE? AGAINST WHOM?
The answer is, without question: YES.
The owner/operator of any aircraft has a duty to 1) make sure their aircraft is in proper mechanical condition to fly and 2) operate the aircraft with the utmost safety for its patients and crew.
The fact that this helicopter crashed means someone failed in #1 or #2. Period.
This is not the first of these to have occurred in recent years. In July 2007, two news helicopters crashed into each other near mid-town Phoenix. There were no survivors.
In June 2008, two medical helicopters crashed into each other on approach into Flagstaff Medical Center. Again, there were no survivors.
Legal claims were brought and resolved for the families involved.
It is first now important for the families affected to tend to their loved ones.
Equally imperative however is for a full investigation to get underway. An attorney experienced in helicopter crashes should be consulted soon.