Two dead after air ambulance crashes on way to rescue hikers

Two crew aboard an air ambulance have died after the helicopter crashed when responding to an emergency. The Eurocopter EC130 had been on its way to an area southeast of the Alabama city of Birmingham to airlift a hiker with breathing problems and chest pains. But the helicopter crashed near the community of Chelsea in Shelby County, bursting into flames. Two of its crew died, with a third taken to hospital. 

Shelby County chief deputy sheriff Clay Hammac said: “Our deputies did the best they could to render aid. The helicopter was on fire.”

He added: “We count ourselves as family of all first responders, fire, medical and law enforcement”.

“Many of us in this profession know these individuals who were involved so this affects us very deeply.”

A deputy called emergency services to report the horror crash and said one of the three crew members on board the helicopter was pronounced dead at the scene.

The hiker was transported separately and made it to a hospital safely, according to Hamma. The hiker’s condition is not known.

Emergency crews are at the site of the charred wreckage and law enforcement officers plan to secure the site overnight while the investigation continues.

The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation into the crash, assisted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The other two crew members were rushed to hospital, but one of them died there.

The condition of the third crew member is currently unknown.

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