Oklahoma City fatal helicopter investigation will take months

National Transportation Safety Board investigators hope clues from the medical helicopter wreckage will help explain why it crashed Friday in northwest Oklahoma City. The accident killed the pilot and flight nurse; a paramedic remained in critical condition Saturday at a hospital in Dallas.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: February 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm •  Published: February 23, 2013

EagleMed President Larry Bugg said he and other company employees were heartbroken by the accident and are cooperating with the investigation.

“Our family has suffered a grievous loss that can't be measured or put into words,” Bugg said. “Consoling the families of these three men and ensuring that their needs are met is our primary focus.”

Eyewitness account

Lemishko said key to the investigation into the crash is the eyewitness account of David Rogers, a carpet layer who was just getting started with his work day when he saw the helicopter “flash” before descending from the sky.

Rogers said that when he turned a corner onto Britton Road he stopped when he saw three nursing home employees, all women, using a fire extinguisher to put out the flames burning Wynne.

“He wanted me to take his flight suit and I told him I couldn't do it and he said his leg, he felt like it was about to fall off,” Rogers said Saturday. “I grabbed his hand and held his hand and told him to hold on, that they (emergency responders) were on their way.”

Rogers and the three women, each of whom worked Saturday but could not be reached for comment, were hailed as heroes by Lemishko.

The four were able to move Wynne out of a pool of fuel just before the second explosion, he said.

Rogers said the women were certainly heroes for risking their lives, but that his was just a natural response.

“Somebody asked me, ‘Who does that? Who stops their truck on the way to the doughnut shop and goes to a helicopter fire?'” he said. “My response to that is, who wouldn't? Who wouldn't do that? Anyone could have done the same thing.”

Lemishko said investigators will look first at components of the helicopter that could have caused a midair “flash,” but would not specify which components that might be or speculate on any theories.

He said a preliminary report will be issued in five days, but a final report on the deadly crash could take as long as eight months to be released.


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