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Med Flight crashes near La Crosse airport

May 11, 2008

Photo of Med Flight helicopter

A UW Med Flight helicopter takes off on May 9, 2008. (View larger version.) UW Med Flight provides medical care and transport to critically ill or injured patients from any regional medical facility within a 225-mile radius of Madison. Photo: Jeff Miller

Photo of Bean

Darren Bean, MD

Photo of Coyne

Mark Coyne, RN

Photo of Liperrer

Steve Lipperer, pilot

A UW Hospital and Clinics Med Flight helicopter with a crew of three left Madison at approximately 8:30 p.m. Saturday to transfer a patient to Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse.

After transferring the patient, the Med Flight helicopter departed the La Crosse airport at approximately 10:30 pm. to return to Madison. No further communication was received from the crew.

The crew consisted of Darren Bean, MD, Mark Coyne, RN and pilot Steve Lipperer. An extensive ground search was conducted by La Crosse-area authorities and at approximately 8:40am today, a crash site was identified about four miles from the airport.

The aircraft was new, leased in the last year from Air Methods and was an American Eurocopter EC13.

Hospital officials have no details on what might have happened and as we learn more, we will share this with the media. Preliminary reports indicate that the aircraft may have flown into a hill and/or struck some trees.

Following standard protocol, the second Med Flight helicopter has been temporarily taken out of service.

Our hearts, minds and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those lost in this tragic accident.

Darren, Mark and Steve represented the very best in compassionate patient care and they will be deeply missed by all members of the UW Health family who knew and respected this courageous and committed Med Flight crew.

Source: UW Health Public Affairs