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Necessity of Medical Air Transport Debated

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Despite the alarms raised by Sunday's fatal helicopter collision over Flagstaff, federal safety officials acknowledge that none of the major reforms outlined in a 2006 report would likely have prevented the crash.

The incident was a rarity - it marked only the second time in 23 years that two emergency medical service aircraft had collided in midair, officials said Tuesday.

The crash was the 10th nationwide involving an emergency medical service craft this year and raised to "disturbing levels" longstanding concerns about safety of air transports of patients who need medical attention right away, according to Mark Rosenker, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

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