Medical Helicopter Crash Kills 3 In Illinois

Authorities say that a medical helicopter crashed in northern Illinois Monday night, killing all three crew members on board.

The medical helicopter was reportedly en route from Rockford Memorial Hospital to a hospital roughly 60 miles south in the city of Mendota. The Federal Aviation Administration reports that the helicopter crashed about 8:30 pm in a field near the city of Rochelle, a city of about 9,500 located roughly 75 miles west of Chicago.

The helicopter was destroyed in the crash, killing the pilot and two flight nurses.

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, Rockford Memorial Hospital identified the pilot as Andy Olson. The two flight nurses were also identified as Dillow and Karen Hollis. No patients were on board the medical helicopter when it crashed.

The helicopter was a Bell BK-117, and was the only medical helicopter employed by Rockford Memorial Hospital. The hospital’s website describes the helicopter as an “airborne emergency room.”

“At Rockford Health System, our hearts are heavy,” hospital spokesman Wester Wuori said in a press release early Tuesday morning. “We grieve the loss of three heroes who dedicated their careers to serving others.”

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“Authorities established a staging area near the intersection of U.S. Route 30 and Illinois Route 251, a dispatcher with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said. The intersection lies between Rochelle and Mendota.”

FAA spokesperson Tony Molinaro says that a team from the FAA will assist in investigating the crash, which he says will be led by the National Transportation Safety Board.