Chopper crash expert offers insight into crash - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Chopper crash expert offers insight into crash

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A helicopter crash expert says the hospital community should have an independent party determine the risk factors before any medical flight ever even takes off. A helicopter crash expert says the hospital community should have an independent party determine the risk factors before any medical flight ever even takes off.
The high safety rating is puzzling, considering the pilot was experienced and weather does not appear to have been a factor in the crash. The high safety rating is puzzling, considering the pilot was experienced and weather does not appear to have been a factor in the crash.
SOMERVILLE, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Experts are sharing new insight on the medical helicopter crash that happened near Somerville Tuesday morning.

A helicopter crash expert says the hospital community should have an independent party determine the risk factors before any medical flight ever even takes off.

Pedi-Flite nurse Carrie Barlow, Pedi-Flite respiratory therapist Denise Adams, and Hospital Wing pilot Charles Smith were killed when a Eurocopter AS350 B3 crashed on its way to Bolivar to pick up a patient.

"The Eurocopter AS350 B3 has an above average safety record," said helicopter crash expert Gary Robb.

Robb wrote a book about helicopter crashes, and has at least 30 years experience litigating them in court for victims' families.

The high safety rating is puzzling, considering the pilot was experienced and weather does not appear to have been a factor in the crash.

Tuesday's crash is the second medical helicopter accident to happen in West Tennessee in three years. In 2010, two nurses and a pilot died when they crashed in Brownsville. In that case, investigators determined weather was a factor.

Robb says there needs to be an independent third party assembled to determine the risk of whether to take each flight.

"You've got to consider, always, the need and too many times we are simply utilizing that helicopter when there is no need for it," he said.

NTSB investigators say they are still working toward determining what caused the helicopter to crash near Somerville. A preliminary report is expected in about one week.

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