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3 flight crew members were killed in a medical helicopter crash



A medical helicopter crashed in a heavily wooded area in northern Wisconsin, killing all three people on board.

Search and Rescue teams found the helicopter of the Ascension Health Spirit early Friday after Oneida County sheriff dispatchers received a call that Chief Executive Officer Dan Hess was missing. The wreck was found near Hazelhurst, a small town about 240 kilometers northwest of Green Bay.

The three people killed were flight crew members, and no patients were aboard when the helicopter crashed, Hess said. The identity of the victims was not published until the announcement of their families.

It is believed that the three were killed in a collision, the coroner Larry Mathein told the Wausau television station WAOW. He said that the corpse of the pilot is sent for an autopsy according to standard protocol.

Authorities said the last known helicopter contact was at 22:55. Thursday. The dispatchers received a call that the helicopter failed 25 minutes later and a search was started.

"It's heavily forested terrain and hard to reach," said Tom Ryden, whose local company, R & R Motor Sports, provided three amphibious SUVs and helped the searchers reach the rural crash site.

Ryden said the area is also hilly with high ridges and swamps.

The medical helicopter left Madison late Thursday and drove to Woodruff when it collapsed 1

2 miles south of its destination, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Ascension Health, a nonprofit health care system, has not returned messages from The Associated Press seeking more details about the accident. Mathein's office did not return any messages from the AP.

The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation. At least eight agencies were involved in the search.


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