by Michael Schwanke
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
4:49 PM EDT, June 12, 2013
(NEAR TULSA, Okla.)
Wichita based EagleMed is dealing with its third fatal crash in three years.
One of the company's helicopters crashed in Oklahoma Tuesday night, killing the patient on board and injuring three others. The crew was not from Kansas. No names have been released.
Officials say the chopper went down shortly after leaving the Choctaw Nation Healthcare Center just a few miles outside of Talihina on the border of Le Flore and Latimer Counties. The crew was transporting a patient from the facility, and it was not urgent care.
This February two were killed and another critically hurt when another EagleMed helicopter went down next to a nursing home in Oklahoma.
In July of 2010 two others died in a crash, also in Oklahoma.
A report released by the National Transportation Safety Board says according to a flight nurse who survived, the pilot began talking to another pilot about flying on a coyote hunt, and said the words "like this" pointing the nose of the chopper down. The report says the helicopter hit a tree and crashed.
Toxicology reports found the pilot had several prescription drugs in his system including Lunesta (a sleep aid), Lortab, and Valium.
Investigators have not released the cause of the other two crashes, but long time helicopter pilot and flight instructor Chuck Schreiber says these pilots are well trained.
"Air ambulance pilots are very experienced pilots," Schreiber said.
And they fly where others don't.
"Most land on roads or intersections. It puts you in a different environment."
He says it's important that investigators determine a cause.
"The biggest reason is to see if we can keep it from happening again," Schreiber said. "Our feeling is one accident is too many. I'm sure they (EagleMed) feel the same way."