Nevada crash is third fatality linked to air medical service

RENO, Nevada (AP) — The company that owns the medical transport plane that crashed last week in northern Nevada, killing all five people on board, is linked to two deadly crashes in the past four years. increase.

A review of records shows that a total of 11 people were killed in planes owned and operated by Guardian Flights in recent crashes. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported on Friday.

The company is now facing its fourth National Transportation Safety Board investigation since 2018, said NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg.

As the single-engine Pilatus PC12 was en route from Reno to Salt Lake City on Feb. 24, investigators said it broke apart. It plummeted to the ground near a rural stagecoach 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Reno. The dead included pilot Scott Walton, 46, and two medical staff, Edward Pricorra, 32, and Ryan Watson, 27. The patient was Mark Rand (69 years old).

A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board, Sarah Surick, said Thursday that a seven-member team that was sent to Nevada over the weekend to investigate the crash is wrapping up the on-site portion of the investigation. She said the team recovered electronic navigation equipment from the plane at the crash site and sent it to the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. for analysis.

A preliminary report outlining the agency’s initial findings will be released “in the next week or so,” Sulick said.

The flight was Care Flight, a service of REMSA Health. Care Flight’s aviation vendor is Guardian Flight. REMSA is currently suspending care flights.

Jena Esposito, PR manager for KPS3 and spokesperson for REMSA, declined to comment and deferred contacting Guardian Flight.

A private service for the crew of the deceased Care Flight is scheduled to take place within the next week. Care Flight will hold a memorial service for the crash victims at the Reno Sparks Convention Center on February 8 at 2:00 pm.

Guardian Flights has over 60 aircraft from 60 locations, including Hawaii and Alaska.

In December, a Hawaii Life Flight medical transport crew crashed into the ocean off Maui while transporting a patient. Investigators found the bodies and remains of the three crew members a month later. The cause is still under investigation.

In January 2019, a medical transport plane crashed outside Juneau, Alaska. Pilots, nurses and paramedics trying to transport patients died. The bodies of the crew have not yet been found. After nearly two years of investigation, the NTSB was unable to determine the cause.

There were no fatalities in the 2018 Arizona accident. Authorities say autopilot errors and pilot overcorrections were to blame.

An aviation attorney representing relatives of the Rands, who died in the February 24 crash, told the AP that the tragedy was “absolutely preventable.”

“It starts with the decision to go first,” said Dan Rose, a former Navy pilot who has litigated aviation cases for 25 years.

Rose said he looked forward to the NTSB’s preliminary report, which he hopes will provide more detailed information about the overall circumstances of the nighttime crash during the winter storm. .

He declined to disclose what condition Mark Rand was suffering from. rice field.


Las Vegas AP writer Rio Yamat contributed to this report.