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NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Arizona Chopper Crash

TUCSON, Ariz. – A medical helicopter that crashed last week in Tucson and killed all three aboard fell 600 feet in eight seconds before it hit the ground.

That’s according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board that was obtained Wednesday by the Arizona Daily Star.

The report says the LifeNet helicopter lost radar contact about 140 feet above ground and a quarter-mile before it crashed last Wednesday afternoon – killing the pilot, paramedic and flight nurse.

The AS350 B3 Eurocopter had undergone routine maintenance in Marana and was en route to its home base in Douglas when it crashed into a backyard fence and burst into flames. Witnesses told investigators that the helicopter made some unusual sounds, including rapid intermittent popping noises.

The NTSB still is investigating the crash and the probe could take up to a year to complete. LifeNet Arizona’s parent company is Colorado-based Air Methods.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com