Nurse, pilot killed in medical helicopter crash in Minnesota
BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) — A medical helicopter crashed Friday at a regional airport in Minnesota, killing a nurse and pilot and injuring a crew member, according to the health care provider that owns the chopper.
No patients were on board when the helicopter crashed about 1 a.m. at Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, according to a statement from North Memorial Health, of Robbinsdale, the hospital that owns the chopper. Brainerd is about 127 miles (204 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis.
The pilot and nurse were pronounced dead at the scene. The crew member’s condition was unknown after being taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd.
Nurse Deb Schott, 58, was one of the two victims killed, her husband Gary Schott, of Biscay, confirmed.
Conditions were foggy when the AgustaWestland A-109 helicopter went down inside a fenced area at the airport just northeast of Brainerd, airport director Steve Wright told the Star Tribune .
Fog in the area reduced visibility to about a quarter mile, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
Federal Aviation Administration investigators were on their way to the site Friday, and the National Transportation Safety Board was notified. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation, said the FAA’s Elizabeth Isham Cory.
First-responders included the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, Brainerd Police and Fire Departments and Baxter Police Department.
North Memorial Air Care has bases in Brainerd, Bemidji, Eveleth-Virginia, Princeton, Redwood Falls and Faribault in Minnesota and in Siren, Wisconsin. It owns and operates nine medical helicopters.
A North Memorial helicopter crashed in 2016 near Alexandria, Minnesota, injuring three.