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KERO

4 Dead After Medical Helicopter Crash In California

Four people are dead after a medical helicopter crash in Kern County, California.

By Melissa Prax | December 11, 2015

Four people are dead after a medical helicopter crash in Kern County, California. The helicopter was carrying four people — three emergency responders and one patient in critical condition.

The helicopter, operated by air ambulance company SkyLife, crashed during a 50-mile trip to a Bakersfield hospital. The helicopter lost contact with a local dispatch center around 6:50 p.m. local time.

"We call it the SkyLife family," American Ambulance President/CEO Todd Valeri said. "The people who work at SkyLife, they're a very close knit group, and tonight, we're gathering and consoling each other and sharing memories."

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"The tragedy that occurred is further evidence of how dangerous it is for the men and women who are out there trying to save lives," EMS Director, Fresno County EMS Director Dan Lynch said in a press conference. 

While medical helicopters have been found to increase the chances of survival for patients, flying is still dangerous. Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration issued several regulations aimed at making helicopter travel safer. (Video via Houston Business Journal)

Local stations say there was heavy fog and winds in the area where the SkyLife helicopter was flying. The incident is still under investigation. 

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