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Air Ambulance Crash in Illinois

No Patient on Board

A MEDICAL HELICOPTER OPERATING OUT OF ROCKFORD Memorial Hospital in Lee County, Illinois, crashed in a field Monday night killing the pilot and two nurses who were on board.

This Facebook photo shows the Rockford Health System REACT helicopter.

The airship went down about 8:30 pm Central while on its way to Mendota to pick up a patient.  WREX-TV is reporting:

The cause of the crash is still unknown, but RHS Spokesperson Wester Wuori believes it might be weather-related. Casey Sullivan, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Romeoville, Illinois says flurries and light snow were reported with the 8:00pm automatic weather observation at Rochelle Municipal Airport. The temperature was 30 degrees with a wind out of the west at 7 mph. He could not confirm whether icing was a factor in the crash. "We did not receive any reports of any icing in that area from aircraft, but that's not to say it wasn't possible" he says.

The helicopter was completely demolished on impact  (WGN-TV)

WREX Chief Meteorologist Eric Sorensen explains that the air was saturated and the temperatures were right around freezing at flight level. "Aircraft icing disrupts the aerodynamics around aircraft fuselage and can add a significant amount of weight which can cause the aircraft to become unstable."

ABC7 filed this video report from the scene:

 

According to the hospital's website, the agency has been operating the helicopter since 1987 and flown more than 10,000 flights without an accident.

The Chicago Sun-Times has the STORY.

Hat tip:  Steve S.

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