On Friday, March 3rd, a tragic air ambulance crash occurred in northern Nevada as a Care Flight aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from the airport in Elko. Five lives were lost in the incident and including three crew members and two patients.
The flight was transporting a patient and a caregiver to the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 200 crashed into a parking lot. However, no one on the ground was injured as the parking lot was empty.
The Investigation into the Air Ambulance Crash is On
The cause of the accident remains under investigation. It is reported that the National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team to the scene to determine what went wrong. While the weather conditions were reported to be windy, it is yet unknown if it actually played any role in the unfortunate crash.
The victims of the crash have been identified as the pilot, Yuji Irie; flight nurse, Jake Shepherd; paramedic, Tiffany Urresti; the patient, Edward Clohesey; and caregiver, Elena Rodriguez. The Elko airport has temporarily suspended all air ambulance operations while the investigation continues. It is said that the team was well-respected in the field of emergency medical services and had a combined experience of over 60 years.
The Topic of Air Ambulance Safety Has Cropped Up Again
The crash has sent shockwaves through the local community, with many expressing their condolences and offering support to the families and colleagues of the victims. The incident also highlights the risks faced by air ambulance crews, who often put their own lives on the line to transport critically ill patients. According to the Association of Air Medical Services, there were 84 accidents involving air ambulance flights in the United States between 2011 and 2020, resulting in 79 fatalities.