Preliminary Report: EMS crash kills three

 - March 26, 2007, 7:14 AM

Raytheon Beech King Air 200, Belgrade, Mont., Feb. 6, 2007–The EMS flight was on an IFR flight plan, en route to Gallatin Field, Belgrade, to pick up a patient. BZN was VFR and the pilot requested a visual approach to Runway 12. After he was cleared for the approach, ATC lost contact.

The aircraft crashed approximately 100 feet below the peak of a ridge that rose to an elevation of approximately 5,700 feet. The debris field continued from the initial crash site, over the crest of the ridge, toward the airport, for approximately 500 feet. The airplane was destroyed and the three occupants–the ATP-rated pilot, flight paramedic and flight nurse–were killed.

The air ambulance was operated by Metro Aviation of Shreveport, La., under contract to Benefis Healthcare/Mercy Flight, Great Falls, Mont. The operator told the NTSB that according to its preliminary satellite-based flight-tracking data, the airplane started a descent from 15,000 feet approximately 40 miles north of the airport. The last data transmission was received approximately six minutes later, in the area where the wreckage was located.