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Medical helicopter crashes, killing 3

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 12:35 p.m. CDT

COMPTON – Three people are dead after a Rockford Memorial Hospital REACT helicopter flying to a hospital in Mendota crashed in a field in Compton in Lee County, an FAA spokesman said in a recorded message Monday night.

The crash occurred around 8:30 p.m. near Melugins Grove and Stainbrook roads immediately south of Bresson Airport, which is just south of the intersection of U.S. Route 30 and state Route 251 intersection near Rochelle, two Rockford TV stations reported.

The copter was on its way to pick up a patient. There were no patients on board, the three dead are crew members, WTVO and WIFR reported.

WBBM in Chicago reported late Monday night that a pilot and two nurses were on board.

The National Transportation and Safety Board will lead the investigation into the cause of the crash; the FAA will assist, the recording said.

Lee County Sheriff John Varga was on scene late Monday.

There was “debris everywhere,” he said, declining to provide further information until the investigation progressed, probably sometime this morning.

According to Rockford Memorial Hospital’s website, since 1987 REACT has completed more than 10,000 flights and 15,000 hours without incident.

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