A man driving in northwest Oklahoma City said he saw a “flash” just before a medical helicopter crashed Feb. 22, a preliminary report shows.
The man, identified as David Rogers, said he has had several interviews with authorities since the crash to recount what he saw that morning.
“I was driving to the doughnut shop, driving south down Rockwell just north of Britton and I saw this flash in the sky. But the flash was kind of like lightning behind the clouds. Not direct, but muffled,” Rogers said.
An EagleMed helicopter with three crew members aboard took off from Integris Baptist Medical Center at 5:38 a.m. Feb. 22. Data from a satellite stopped about three minutes and 30 seconds into the flight to Watonga to pick up a cardiac patient, a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report shows.
The report did not indicate what may have caused the flash.
The crash killed the pilot, a nurse and left a paramedic who was onboard with critical injuries.
Pilot Mark Montgomery, 47, of Norman, died from multiple blunt force trauma and thermal injuries. The medical examiner has not released the cause of death of flight nurse Chris Denning, 41, of Yukon.
Paramedic Billy Wynne, 31, survived and was taken to a Dallas hospital, where he is reported to be in serious condition, a spokeswoman said Thursday. No patients were aboard the helicopter when it crashed.
The report states the witness saw the helicopter in an increasingly rapid descent before it disappeared behind buildings. He drove toward smoke and saw the helicopter was on fire in the parking lot of St. Ann Retirement Center. He assisted St. Ann employees in pulling the surviving paramedic away from the burning aircraft.
Rogers said that at first he couldn't tell that it was a helicopter. “ ... then it started going down ... I just had a weird feeling in my stomach and I saw smoke. When I got between two buildings, I could see a pretty good fire. It had landed about 15 feet in front of some gal sitting in an SUV eating her breakfast,” he said.
“I really didn't think the guy was going to survive. I really didn't,” he said, of the paramedic, Wynne.
Surveillance cameras located on a building adjacent to the parking lot showed the last few seconds of the helicopter descending toward the ground. The video showed the helicopter burst into flames upon impact.