Two medical helicopters crashed within eight hours on Wednesday, killing three and injuring four in Iowa and Oklahoma.
The first crash took place in Oklahoma when an Air Methods helicopter crash landed, injuring the four crew members on board. A few hours later a Med-Trans helicopter, crashed around 9 p.m. into a field in Iowa, killing all three passengers on board including a nurse, a paramedic and the pilot. There we no patients on either medical aircraft at the time of the accidents. In both cases, the helicopters suffered serious damage.
The causes of the accidents are still under investigation.
The rate of aviation accidents involving medical helicopters has increased over the past few years. Fifty-five medical aircrafts have crashed between 2002 and 2005, killing 54 and injuring 18. In 2010, sixteen people were killed in medical aircraft crashes, with three in 2011 and three in 2012, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
However, Med-Trans helicopters were involved in two nonfatal accidents in 2012, and Air Methods helicopters have been involved in 12 other accidents since 2007, with 20 fatalities. Air Methods has over 400 aircrafts in 48 states, while Med-Trans operates 60 aircrafts in 18 states.
Weather might be a factor as medical helicopters operate under the pressure to quickly respond in various conditions including nights and in bad weather.
If you have lost a loved one in a plane crash, or if you are a plane crash survivor, you will probably be contacted shortly after the accident by someone from the airlines insurance company. He or she will make you a settlement offer and ask you to sign a document. Before you accept any offers or sign any documents, it's important to talk to an experienced aviation disaster attorney. Otherwise, you could be signing away your rights for filing a future claim against the airline insurer, the airline, the plane manufacturer, or the company responsible for maintaining the airplane.
Aviation law is complex and involves both state and federal law. In addition, commercial, military, private plane crashes are each covered by different rules and regulations.
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Source: CNN, "Medical helicopter crashes kills 3, hurt four and prompt more scrutiny," Jan. 4, 2013.