A medical helicopter crash, which left from Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, killed three emergency workers Tuesday after the copter fell from the sky and burned en route to pick up a young child in Tennessee.
The crash happened about 6:20 a.m., CNN reported, about halfway between Memphis and the crew’s destination of Bolivar.
Authorities identified the dead as registered nurse Carrie Barlow, 43, respiratory therapist Denise Adams, 43, and pilot Charles Smith, 47, CNN said. All are from Tennessee.
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The medical workers were from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis and were heading to a medical center in Bolivar to pick up a boy suffering from renal failure. A cause of the crash has not been determined.
“It’s a sad day for Le Bonheur,” the hospital’s President and CEO Mary Armour told WMCTV.
“This is an incredibly talented group of professionals who rescues critically ill and injured children for a 130-mile radius and brings them to Le Bonheur," added Dr. Jay Pershad, according to the television station’s report. “We do this every day, but this is an incredibly sad day for us.”
The hospital’s Facebook page was filled with messages of consolation.
“Praying that God gives comfort to their families and their extended family at the hospital. I’m sure these 3 touched so many lives with their unselfish giving,” wrote Kay Calvert Butler.
WMCTV said Barlow began working at Le Bonheur in January of 2012. Prior to that, she served as a neonatal intensive care nurse for Lauderdale Community Hospital in Ripley, Tenn., and Jackson-Madison County General in Jackson. She is a married mother of three children.
Adams joined Le Bonheur as a respiratory therapist in August of 2003 and joined the Pedi-Flight team two years later. She, too, is a married mother with three children.
Smith retired from the aviation unit of the Memphis Police Department in 2012 after 25 years and began working at Hospital Wing soon after. He and his wife have two sons.
Pershad told WMCTV the crew put their lives on the line every day.
“They have taken care of so many kids in their short lives that I can’t tell you how incredibly difficult it is for the entire team.”
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