4 dead in medical helicopter crash in Central California

Firetrucks and ambulances en route to debris field that may be medical helicopter crash site in Bakersfield, California on night of December 10, 2015. Photo: CBS News

FRESNO, Calif. — A medical helicopter crashed Thursday night amid heavy rain and fog in Central California, killing all four people aboard, officials said.

The helicopter was headed from Porterville Municipal Airport to San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield when it crashed, Kern County fire officials said. Officials did not say why the patient was being taken to the hospital, and the names of the dead were being withheld until family members can be informed.

The crash site was a remote field on private property outside the town of McFarland, authorities said. That was about halfway into the trip, reports CBS Bakersfield affiliate KBAK-TV.

There was dense fog and heavy rain in the area and it wasn’t clear whether it caused the crash, but “weather conditions are always a factor,” Valeri said.

“This was a safe, experienced crew,” he said.

The weather also made it difficult to find and reach the site, and rescue crews didn’t get there for more than two hours after the helicopter went missing.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash, officials said.

The SkyLife air ambulance had a pilot, a nurse, a paramedic and a patient aboard when it went down, American Ambulance General Manager Todd Valeri said at a news conference.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s