Dewitt, Ark. (KATV, AP) — UPDATE (11:20):
Authorities have released the identities of the three men killed in a medical helicopter crash near Dewitt late Sunday evening.
According to officials, Air Methods pilot Michael Bollen, 46, of Hot Springs, Arkansas; Pafford Flight nurse James Lawson Spruiell, 61, from Sulligent, Alabama; and Pafford Flight Paramedic, John Auld III, 26, of Shreveport, Louisiana, were killed as the helicopter was in route to pick up a passenger from Helena West Helena Regional Medical Center.
The cause of the crash remains unknown.
Dustin Ross, Director for Pafford Air One released the following statement:
“We are all devastated and profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of these valued EMS colleagues and friends. We will continue to try and comfort the crew’s families as well as everyone in our employ.”
Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) reports that a medical helicopter crashed in Arkansas County Sunday evening.
ADEM spokesperson says the crash happened in the Lodge Corner community near Dewitt.
ADEM spokesperson says the three crew members on board were killed.
The Arkansas County Sheriff's Office says they received a call just before 8:00 p.m. that a chopper had gone down off of highway 276.
Deputies spoke with a woman who lived in the vicinity of the crash who said she witnessed the helicopter go down and could see a fire from her location.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they discovered the helicopter had been consumed by fire and the fire department was still working to extinguish fire in the rear part of the aircraft.
According to Jamie Pafford with Pafford EMS, the helicopter was in route from Pine Bluff to Helena West Helena to pick up a patient when it went down near Dewitt. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says patients were on board at the time of the accident.
The helicopter belonged to Pafford EMS. The company said on its Facebook page that it's "devastated by the sudden loss of three of our team members."
The identities of those killed will be released after all next of kin have been notified, however, officials say none of the crew was from Arkansas.
Additional details about what caused the crash are not yet known.
Channel 7 has a crew headed to the scene.