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South Carolina Medical Emergency Helicopter Crash Kills Three

Posted on Oct 08, 2009
Following a shocking pattern of medical helicopter crashes in the last year, a South Carolina medical emergency services helicopter went down near Georgetown, SC, killing all three people on board.

The medical helicopter had just dropped off a medvac patient off in Charleston, South Carolina, and was headed to Conway when it encountered three different bouts of inclement weather - including significant rain. Although the copter maneuvered around the first two patches of poor weather, the aircraft went down after moving into the third storm.

The pilot of the helicopter, 45-year-old Patrick Walters, of Murrells Inlet, 42-year-old flight nurse Diana Conner, of Florence, and paramedic 39-year-old Randolph Claxton Dove, of Bladenboro, N.C., died in the crash Friday night.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt told reporters in a press conference that the initial investigation shows that the engine was still running at the time that the copter went down and that there were no apparent signs of mechanical failure. The helicopter had been damaged and repaired last year, after a helicopter pilot reported that the aircraft was shaking violently when he pushed the throttle and that he had observed significant main rotor damage.

"Omniflight is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of its crew members and wishes to express its deepest regrets and sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives," the medical transport company said in a statement.

No patients were on board the helicopter when it crashed.

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