Three Killed in Iowa Medevac Chopper Crash

The chopper based at Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa crashed on the way to pick up a patient.


A medevac chopper based in Iowa crashed Wednesday night, claiming all three crew members aboard.

Killed were Russell Piehl, a paramedic; Shelly Lair-Langenbau, a nurse; and Gene Grell, the pilot, according to KIMT.

The chopper, based at Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa, was on the way to pick up a patient when it went down in Ventura. 

The President/CEO of Mercy - North Iowa, Dan Varnum, told reporters the loss is devastating for the organization.

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“I know their colleagues in healthcare are grieving the loss with their loved ones,” said Varnum.  “The entire organization and I send prayers to all who knew them. They were committed and dedicated to serving the people of Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota.

“They were each selfless healthcare professionals devoted to the delivery of emergency medical care. While they fulfilled significant duties, they played a greater role as our neighbors and friends,” he said. 

The crash remains under investigation.