- The Associated Press
DEWITT, Ark. (AP) — A pilot and two medical personnel were killed when a medical helicopter that was flying to a hospital in eastern Arkansas crashed in a rural area Sunday night. No patients were on board at the time.
The cause of the crash, which happened in an area about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Little Rock, is not yet known but federal agencies are investigating.
Pafford Air One identified the victims as 46-year-old pilot Michael Bollen of Hot Springs; 61-year-old flight nurse James Lawson Spruiell of Sulligent, Alabama; and 26-year-old flight paramedic John Auld III, who went by the nickname Trey, of Shreveport, Louisiana. Pafford Air One says the helicopter had been flying from Pine Bluff to a hospital in Helena-West Helena.
“We are all devastated and profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of these valued EMS colleagues and friends. We will continue to try and comfort the crew’s families as well as everyone in our employ,” said Pafford Air One Director Dustin Ross.
Spruiell and Auld worked for Pafford Air One, which provides emergency transport in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Bollen was a pilot for Air Methods Corp.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation into the crash.
This story has been corrected to show that the helicopter was traveling to Helena-West Helena, not DeWitt.