(Somerville, TN) Emergency crews in Fayette County are responding to a helicopter crash near Somerville.
Pedi-Flite is the pediatric and neonatal critical care transport team of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
There were no patients on board the Eurocopter AS350 at the time of the crash.
The Hospital Wing chopper crashed just before 7 a.m. Tuesday along Jones Creek near Highway 64 as it headed towards Bolivar.
News Channel 3 Meteorologist Austen Onek says there was some drizzle and low clouds but no indication of storms at the time of the crash.
The FAA reports the helicopter was destroyed by fire.
Sheriff Ray Garcia said the rural conditions made it tough to get to the site, “We did have some ambulances that tried to go in through some of the field paths through here. They went as far as they could but they couldn’t get all the way back to the site.”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our Le Bonheur family members,” said Le Bonheur CEO Meri Armour. “Lots of people count on us to go out and rescue children wherever they are. Pedi-Flite is like the cavalry, going out into the community and surrounding areas. Our families often tell me that once the Pedi-Flite team shows up, they know they’re going to be taken care of.”
Three Hospital Wing employees were killed in March of 2010 when their chopper crashed during a thunderstorm near Brownsville, TN.
Killed in the 2010 crash were Misty Brogdon, Cindy Parker and Doug Phillips.
According to Le Bonheur, they do 400 flights per year.
The patient for whom the chopper was intended was brought to the hospital via ambulance.
Hospital Wing is a non-profit air medical transport partnership with local hospitals.
Le Bonheur offers the only pediatric transport service in a 130-mile radius, and we transport more than 2,500 critically ill or injured children each year – 400 of them by helicopter, according to Jay Pershad, medical director of Pedi-Flite.
NTSB investigator will arrive on scene in TN to investigate helicopter accident this evening. Media briefing time and location TBD.—
(@NTSB) October 22, 2013