The Air Evac Lifeteam said its Operations Control Center “lost contact” with the helicopter on Saturday night
Three men died in a medical helicopter crash late Saturday night while returning from a job, according to the Air Evac Lifeteam
Among the victims are two former members of the military: pilot Russell Haslam and medic Steven Fitzgerald
A third man, flight nurse Adam Tebben, was also killed in the late-night crash
Three people are dead, including two former members of the United States military, after a medical helicopter crashed in Oklahoma.
Air Evac Lifeteam said its Operations Control Center “lost contact” with the Bell 206L3 with call sign N295AE at 11:23 p.m. local time on Saturday, according to a statement from the company.
The crew, which was based out of Weatherford, “was returning to base after completing a patient care transport in Oklahoma City” when contact was lost, AEL said.
AEL has identified the victims as pilot Russell Haslam, flight nurse Adam Tebben and medic Steven Fitzgerald.
The company expressed gratitude to everyone who offered love and support in the wake of the crash. “Russell, Adam and Steven, we miss you so much,” AEL said. “We’ll take it from here.”
Haslam's friend, Eddie Sprabary, said the pilot “was the life of the party” and “spent his entire adult life in service,” according to KOCO-TV. Haslam served in the military for over three decades before moving on to the Air Evac team.
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“People loved talking with him,” said Sprabary, who served with Haslam in the army’s 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment. “When you were talking to Russ one-on-one, you knew he was listening and truly cared about what you had to say.”
Fitzgerald was also a military veteran, according to a statement from EMSA Oklahoma, where Fitzgerald worked after serving the country “in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, and Syria as a U.S. Army Flight Paramedic” before moving on to the Air Evac Lifeteam.
"Steven Fitzgerald was a valued, hard-working team member during his time as an EMSA Paramedic,” the company said. “EMS is a tight knit industry, and we mourn the tragic loss of Steven, Adam, and Russell with our colleagues at Air Evac Lifeteam."
Tebben’s friend, Denise Johnson, said in a separate statement that her pal “was a great man, friend, nurse, and leader” who “epitomized love, kindness, friendship, and servitude to others,” according to ABC affiliate KFOR-TV.
“The loss of Adam and his flight crew is such a great tragedy to their families, friends, and medical community,” Johnson continued. “May Adam’s legacy live on through those of us who had the honor of knowing and working with him.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, according to the AEL.
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