Elko: An air-ambulance plane taking a heart-disease patient to a Utah hospital crashed in a parking lot in northern Nevada, killing all four people aboard and sending up explosions and flames.
Three crew members and a patient were killed in the crash last night in Elko, Nevada, Reno-based American Medflight said today in a statement. Identities were not released.
The twin-engine plane crashed in a mining company's parking lot near a casino and other businesses near Elko Regional Airport and Interstate 80.
Reno-based American Medflight did not immediately respond to email and telephone requests for comment, but president John Burruel said in a statement that the company was cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration as they investigated the crash.
"As an air medical family, we are mourning the loss of our crew members and patient. Their families have been notified and they are in our thoughts and prayers," Burruel said.
Local authorities did not immediately respond to email and phone requests for comment, but Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said nobody on the ground was hurt.
"There was not a lot left of the aircraft," Elko Fire Chief Matt Griego said after the flames were extinguished.
A photograph published by the Elko Daily Free Press showed mostly burned wreckage on pavement in front of a line of vehicles, including at least one charred pickup. The plane's tail was one of the few recognisable parts.
Dr Rodney Badger of Northeastern Nevada Cardiology told the Daily Free Press that the plane had just taken off from the nearby airport to transport a patient to the University of Utah Medical Center.
Badger said his patient suffered from coronary artery disease and was experiencing chest pains and rapid heartbeat around 5:30 pm, after which the decision was made to transport him to Utah.