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Three killed in medical helicopter crash in Arkansas

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | November 19, 2017 at 10:51 p.m. | Updated November 20, 2017 at 6:37 a.m.

An air ambulance crashed in Arkansas County on Sunday night, reportedly killing three people, according to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

Melody Daniel, a spokesman for the department, said a "medevac" helicopter with three people aboard crashed sometime Sunday night, and all three passengers were reported to have died.

The aircraft belonged to Hope-based Pafford EMS. Officials said the helicopter went down near the town of DeWitt, about 60 miles southeast of Little Rock.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the aircraft was flying from Pine Bluff to DeWitt at the time of the wreck. Lunsford says no patients were on board.

FAA investigators were reported to be heading to the crash site, and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified.

A phone call to Pafford EMS late Sunday night wasn't returned. In a statement on the Pafford EMS Louisiana Facebook page, Greg Pafford, John Pafford, & Jamie Pafford-Gresham said they were "devastated by the sudden loss of three of our team members."

"At this time we have no words, only prayers for the families and loved ones involved," the statement said.

Daniel said it wasn't yet clear why the helicopter was in the area late Sunday.

Arkansas' last fatal air ambulance crash occurred in Walnut Grove in 2010 when a Bell Helicopter aircraft crashed on the way to pick up a patient, killing the three-person crew, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's online crash database.

In that incident, the pilot lost control of the aircraft because of "spatial disorientation," according to a crash report.

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