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Federal Report Mum on Med Flight Crash Cause

MADISON, Wis. -- An initial report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board gave no indication why a UW Hospital Med Flight helicopter crashed near La Crosse May 10, killing all three aboard.

The preliminary report said the flight of the helicopter was in accordance with federal regulations.

The Med Flight crew -- Dr. Darren Bean, nurse Mark Coyne and pilot Steve Lipperer -- died when the helicopter crashed into a wooded hillside 4.5 miles southeast of the La Crosse Airport.

The NTSB report said the flight progress of the helicopter was automatically updated every three minutes to the operations control center. The control center for Air Methods, the firm leasing Med Flight helicopters to UW Hospital, is in Denver. The flight updates stopped coming in after the helicopter refueled at the airport after taking a patient to a hospital in La Crosse.

Air Methods notified local authorities at 11:04 p.m. May 10 that the helicopter was missing. A search found the downed aircraft at 9 a.m. the next day.

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