NTSB Report Released in Iowa Medical Chopper Crash

Paramedic Russell Piehl, Nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and Pilot Gene Grell were killed in the Jan. 2 crash.


The NTSB has released its preliminary report into the medical helicopter that crashed in Iowa, killing three responders earlier this month.

Read the Report

The medical crew was traveling from Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa in Mason City to pick up a patient at the Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsbug when the their helicopter crashed in a field near Ventura on Jan. 2 shortly before 9 p.m., according to KIMT-TV.

Killed in the crash were Paramedic Russell Piehl, Nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and Pilot Gene Grell.

While the report does not pinpoint the cause of the crash, it does offer details that investigators will likely use to determine one.

Statements from witnesses point out the icy weather conditions at the time of the crash.

One witness -- who heard the helicopter pass overhead and eventually responded to the crash with the Ventura Fire Department -- tried to drive his truck, but couldn't because ice prevented his wipers from moving.

The same witness said the roads were slippery and even observed a Clear Lake Police vehicle skid through an intersection.