Life or Death: The Alarming Rate of Air Ambulance Crashes

air ambulancePatient and Flight Crew Identified as Victims of Air Ambulance Crash

On August 1, 2016, Larry Mills and his crew, which consisted of flight nurse Deborah Kroon and certified flight paramedic Michelle Tarwater, were identified as the victims of an air ambulance crash that occurred on July 29, 2016.

The victims were aboard a Piper PA31T Cheyenne turboprop with a female patient headed to Oakland International Airport from Crescent City when the plane crashed sometime after 1 a.m. According to authorities, the plane crashed after Mills reported smoke in the cockpit.

The plane was part of Cal-Ore Life Flight, a company responsible for transporting patients throughout the Northern California and Oregon region. NTSB public information officer Eric Weiss said the preliminary accident report would be available within 10 business days.

Startling Statistics

Unfortunately, air ambulance accidents are far too common. Emergency medical services aviation operations, which include all forms of air medical services, such as air ambulances, helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), and MEDEVAC, provide quick and efficient access to difficult and remote accident sites. These services can be very beneficial, being a huge difference in whether a victim lives or dies after the accident. Unfortunately, medical helicopter evacuation can pose its own risks. Between 1992 and 2008, air ambulance helicopter crashes have resulted in more than 126 deaths, with 29 occurring in 2008.


U.S. HEMS Accidents (Credit: NTSB)

Regulations

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the independent agency of the federal government that investigates civil aviation and other transportation accidents in the United States. Unfortunately, victims of air ambulance accidents often have difficulty obtaining justice due to the complexity of these cases. For instance, most crashes have more than one cause and more than one responsible party. As a result, it is not uncommon for there to be multiple plaintiffs and third-party actions, which can make already complex cases even more challenging.

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Contact Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P.,

At Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P., our aviation accident lawyers have the skill, insight, and resources necessary to fight for the victims of major aviation and airline disasters. Aviation cases are at the very heart of what we do, and our lead attorney, George Fleming, started his career at the United States Department of Justice where he represented the United States in a number of serious aviation catastrophes.

The experienced aviation accident attorneys at Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P., understand that air ambulance crashes can have devastating consequences. If you or someone you know has been involved in an aviation accident, contact our firm today for an evaluation of your case at no charge.

Sources:

  • http://www.times-standard.com/article/NJ/20160801/NEWS/160809990
  • http://www.flyingmag.com/aircraft/helicopters/air-ambulance-safety-closer-look
  • http://www.ntsb.gov/news/speeches/rsumwalt/Documents/Sumwalt_050411.pdf
  • http://aerossurance.com/helicopters/us-night-hems-accidents/
  • http://aerossurance.com/helicopters/us-hems-accident-2006-2015/
  • http://www.ems1.com/air-medical-transport/articles/111886048-4-killed-in-medical-transport-plane-crash/
  • http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/5914485-181/fatal-reach-medical-air-crash?artslide=0
  • https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=15794
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