A Hospital Wing helicopter with a Le Bonheur Pedi-Flite crew on-board crashed this morning in Fayette County.
Officials say two hospital workers and the pilot have died after a medical helicopter crashed and burned in Tennessee as the aircraft was headed to pick up an ailing child around 6:20 a.m.
Hospital Wing pilot Charles Smith, Pedi-Flite Nurse Carrie Barlow and Pedi-Flite Respiratory Therapist Denise Adams died in the crash. Pedi-Flite is the pediatric and neonatal critical care transport team of Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.
MORE: DENISE ADAMS BIO
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MORE: CHARLES SMITH BIO
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our Le Bonheur family members," said Le Bonheur CEO Meri Armour. "Lots of people count on us to go out and rescue children wherever they are. Pedi-Flite is like the cavalry, going out into the community and surrounding areas. Our families often tell me that once the Pedi-Flite team shows up, they know they're going to be taken care of."
Bill Conway, CEO of Hospital Wing, said, "You can't do this kind of work without loving what you do. These people accomplish very tough things day in and day out, and they make it look easy."
According to the Fayette County Sheriff's Office, the chopper went down near Fayette Academy just outside Somerville.
The Hospital Wing confirmed they lost contact with the helicopter around 6:20 am.
The local sheriff's department, NTSB and the FAA have been notified and a preliminary investigation is underway.
An NTSB investigator has been mobilized and is headed to the crash scene:
--The investigator will document the crash scene/wreckage
--They will attempt to find any witnesses to the crash.
--They will review air traffic control and radar data.
--They will be on the ground 2-3 days collecting all of this information.
--An outcome will not be released for at least 12-18 months.
FOX13's Sarah Bleau, Brooke Thomas, Earle Farrell and Matt Gerien contributed to this story