4 dead after Duke Life Flight crashes in NC; NTSB investigating

UPDATE: Duke Life Flight crew identified after deadly NC helicopter crash

HERTFORD, N.C. (WNCN) — A Duke Flight Life Flight helicopter crashed in Perquimans County, North Carolina, causing four fatalities the North Carolina Highway Patrol confirmed.

UPDATE: Duke Life Flight crew identified after deadly helicopter crash

The helicopter crashed around 11:45 a.m. after leaving Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, authorities said.

The Perquimans County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Highway Patrol Officials responded to the crash.

Jason Winslow said he saw the helicopter go down.

“Who knows how much it collapsed when it made contact with the ground. But then after it burned it was just, it didn’t, there wasn’t enough there to look like a whole helicopter,” Winslow said.

UPDATE: Duke Life Flight crew identified after deadly NC helicopter crash

A photo of the helicopter that crashed Friday. (Michael Palmisano)

 

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board will arrive Saturday to investigate.

The Highway Patrol said the helicopter went down in an area near Swamp Road and Sandy Cross Road, near the Belvedere community. That is near the Gates County line.

“The men and women of Duke Life Flight put their lives at risk daily. Today we mourn lives of two nurses, pilot, and patient that we’ve lost,” said Kevin Sowers, president
of Duke University Hospital.

Duke Health released the following statement:

With deep sorrow we can confirm that a Duke Life Flight helicopter crashed early this afternoon near Belvidere, North Carolina. We are in the process of directly confirming information related to this incident and will share more information as it becomes available.

Sentara Albemarle Medical Center President Coleen Santa Ana released this statement Friday:

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our patient and the dedicated professionals from Duke Life Flight. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the patient who was lost and to those closest to the crew members. We also extend our sincere sympathies to Duke University Medical Center on the loss of their colleagues. This tragedy reminds us of the devotion of healthcare professionals to the service of others.”

The helicopter and crew were based out of Johnston Regional Airport in Smithfield, officials confirmed.

“Our county’s leadership joins many others around the region and the state in expressing our great shock and sadness over today’s tragedy,” said Jeff Carver, chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “Our hearts, minds and prayers are with the families of those who were on board the Duke Life Flight aircraft, and we offer them our condolences and support in the difficult days, weeks and months ahead.”

UPDATE: Duke Life Flight crew identified after deadly NC helicopter crash

Duke Life Flight has been based at Johnston Regional Airport for more than 10 years.

NTSB investigators will hold a press briefing Saturday.

Further details were not immediately available.

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