Hospital: 3 Dead In Tenn. Medical Helicopter Crash - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Hospital: 3 Dead In Tenn. Medical Helicopter Crash

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Credit: WREG Credit: WREG

SOMERVILLE, Tenn. - Two hospital workers and a pilot were killed when a medical helicopter crashed in west Tennessee as the aircraft was headed to pick up an ailing child.

Le Bonheur Children's Hospital President and CEO Meri Armour said the Hospital Wing helicopter was cleared for both weather and flight plans when it took off Tuesday morning.

The child was not on board the aircraft and was eventually taken by ground ambulance to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Armour said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said in an email that her agency and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

"All we know is that when the helicopter took off it was cleared from both weather and flight plans," Armour said in a phone interview.

Authorities began searching for the helicopter when it didn't respond during a routine check-in around 6:20 a.m. Authorities searched by air and ground and found the burning wreckage in a wooded section of Somervile, about 45 miles east of Memphis.

"This was a very experienced pilot and a very experienced crew and a great helicopter, so we're all anxious to know what happened," Armour said.

She estimated that the aircraft was about a half hour into the flight when it went down.

In a news release, the hospital identified those killed as 47-year-old pilot Charles Smith, 43-year-old nurse Carrie Barlow and 43-year-old respiratory therapist Denise Adams.

Another Hospital Wing helicopter crashed in West Tennessee in March 2010 when the pilot tried to outrun a storm. That crash killed the pilot and two nurses.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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