Medical crew killed in helicopter crash on way to pick up sick c - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Medical crew killed in helicopter crash on way to pick up sick child

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NTSB arrived on the scene of the chopper crash Tuesday afternoon. NTSB arrived on the scene of the chopper crash Tuesday afternoon.
Hospital Wing Pilot Charles Smith (left), Pedi-Flite nurse Carrie Barlow (middle) and Pedi-Flite respiratory therapist Denise Adams (right) died Tuesday in a medical helicopter crash. Hospital Wing Pilot Charles Smith (left), Pedi-Flite nurse Carrie Barlow (middle) and Pedi-Flite respiratory therapist Denise Adams (right) died Tuesday in a medical helicopter crash.
Emergency crews were having trouble accessing the crash site because of muddy conditions. Emergency crews were having trouble accessing the crash site because of muddy conditions.
The crash happened along Highway 64 near the intersection of Doll Way, near Somerville. The crash happened along Highway 64 near the intersection of Doll Way, near Somerville.
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FAYETTE COUNTY, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating after a medical helicopter crashed Tuesday  morning, killing all three people on board.

Hospital Wing pilot Charles Smith, Pedi-Flite nurse Carrie Barlow, and Pedi-Flite respiratory therapist Denise Adams were on their way to pick up a patient from a hospital in Bolivar when the helicopter went down near Somerville, TN.

"It's a sad day for Le Bonheur, we have lost two of our associates, a registered nurse and a respiratory therapist," said Le Bonheur Children's Hospital President and CEO Mary Armour.

The names of the victims were initially withheld pending notification of their families.

"Several of them have small children and we want to give them every opportunity to have a chance to have that discussion," added Armour.

"This is an incredibly talented group of professionals who rescues critically ill and injured children for a 130 mile radius and brings them to Le Bonheur," said Jay Pershad, M.D., Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. "We do this every day, but this is an incredibly sad day for us."

According to Pershad, the hospital does 400 flights each year transporting sick and critically injured children to the hospital. He says the family members the hospital lost in the crash Tuesday are heroes who put their lives on the line each day.

He continued, "Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and I ask you all to respect their privacy and pray for them and pray for their families. I know they are in a better place, and have taken care of so many kids in their short lives that I can't tell you how incredibly difficult it is for the entire team."

"Lots of people count on us to go out and rescue children wherever they are," Armour explained. "Ped-Flite is like the cavalry, going out into the community and surrounding areas. Our families often tell me that once the Ped-Flite team shows up, they know they're going to be taken care of."

Pershad added that the people at Le Bonheur are "all professionals" and they still have a responsibility and operations at the hospital will go on.

The pilot of the medical helicopter was employed by Hospital Wing.

"It is a saddened day for us," said Hospital Wing CEO Bill Conway. "We did lose a pilot in that crash ... It saddens me more than you know. It is a personal friend of mine. All three of these crew members are personal friends of mine, they're a very close knit family here at Le Bonheur and with our crews at Hospital Wing."

Here is more information about each of the victims, as provided by Le Bonheur Children's Hospital:

Carrie Barlow, a 43-year-old nurse on Le Bonheur Children's Hospital's Pedi-Flite team, began her career at Le Bonheur in January of 2012. She worked as a nurse in West Tennessee for 13 years. Prior to joining the Le Bonheur team, she served as a neonatal intensive care nurse for Lauderdale Community Hospital in Ripley, Tenn., and Jackson-Madison County General in Jackson, Tenn. Carrie lived in Halls, Tenn., with her husband, Keith, and is the mother to three children.

Denise Adams, a 43-year-old respiratory therapist on Le Bonheur Children's Hospital's Pedi-Flite team, joined Le Bonheur as a respiratory therapist in August of 2003 She joined the Pedi-Flite team in July 2005 and has served the team as a respiratory therapist for the past eight years. Denise lived in Arlington, Tenn., with her husband, Rodney, and is the mother to three children.

Charles Smith, a 47-year-old pilot, began his career at Hospital Wing in 2012. He retired from the aviation unit of the Memphis Police Department in 2012, after 25 years of service. Charles and his wife, Chi, lived in Eads, Tennessee, with their two sons.

Emergency crews had to bring in special equipment to access the crash site because of the muddy conditions.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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