Three killed after medical chopper crashes, investigation continues

Raquel Erhard – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Rockford, IL, United States (4E) – Three people died after a medical helicopter crashed Tuesday night in Rochelle, Illinois and the National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating.

The NTSB team arrived Wednesday to determine the cause of the incident that killed 65-year-old Pilot Andy Olesen and Flight Nurses 40-year-old Jim Dillow and 48-year-old Karen Hollis.

According to authorities, the helicopter left the Rockford Memorial Hospital heading to a car accident in Mendota when they radioed stating bad weather are forcing them to return.

Lee County Sheriff, John Varga, said officials are trying to comb the debris that is scattered on a huge field.

The NTSB added the cold weather is delaying their investigation.

“The conditions are pretty harsh and cold, but right now, we’re basically in the process of recovering the victims,” claimed Arnold Scott with the NTSB.

The NTSB plans to remove the helicopter tomorrow and confirmed the full investigation will need several days.

Olesen, who has been flying react helicopters from Rockford for five years, planned to retire after being a pilot for almost 20 years.

Hollis has been working as a nurse at Rockford Memorial for 26 years, while Dillow used to work in the critical care unit before becoming a flight nurse.

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