Three hurt in crash of CareFlite helicopter



Posted on September 30, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 10:05 AM

CareFlite crash

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EASTLAND, Texas — A CareFlite medical helicopter with a crew of three on board crashed near Eastland on Sunday morning on its way to pick up a patient.

All three CareFlite personnel suffered "minor to moderate" but not life-threatening injuries, said company president and CEO Jim Swartz, who referred to the incident as a "hard landing."

The crash site — near County Road 309 — was less than six miles from the Eastland Municipal Airport, where the patient was waiting.

Photos from the crash site in a farm field showed the cabin of the helicopter on its left side but with the tail rotor in an upright position.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Trooper Sparky Dean said the injured were taken by ground ambulance to a hospital in Eastland. He said the helicopter's engine was still running when it hit the ground around 9:30 a.m.

Swartz said the cause of the accident was unknown, but added that the crew of the 10-year-old Agusta 109 helicopter was experienced. He said there will be a full investigation. The company was dispatching ambulances to bring the injured employees back to Fort Worth. They were identified as:

  • Pilot Scott Wayne Wallace, 58, of Fort Worth
  • Medic Teresa Lynn Campbell, 53, of Granbury
  • Medic Rhett Derek Drahen, 34, of Frisco

All three were said to be conscious and talking at the crash site.

Representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to examine the wreckage on Monday.

Eastland, the seat of Eastland County, is about 90 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

A pilot and a mechanic were killed two years ago in the fiery crash of a CareFlite helicopter in Ellis County.