Outpouring of support ‘significant and greatly appreciated’
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
The air ambulance helicopter crash Thursday night in Hazelhurst has affected staff and families of Ascension and Air Methods across the region and the country.
In a joint follow up statement, representatives from the two organizations said the “outpouring of support from our Ascension and Air Methods families, first responders and the community has been significant and greatly appreciated.”
Ascension public relations manager Tom Weaver released photos and names of the three crew members who perished in the accident. Deceased are Rico Caruso, 34, of Hazelhurst- Air Methods pilot; Greg Rosenthal, 43, of Mosinee- flight paramedic and Klint Mitchell, 30, of Watersmeet, Mich. – flight nurse.
Also in the follow up statement released Saturday, Weaver announced the Howard Young Foundation will be using its ‘Helping Hands’ fund for any donations to benefit the families of the Spirit team affected by this tragedy. All donations collected will go to the affected families. To donate, people are asked to visit the foundation’s website at www.howardyoungfoundation.org or call 715-439-4005. Donations can also be mailed to Howard Young Foundation, PO Box 470, Woodruff, WI 54568. Checks may be made payable to Howard Young Foundation – Spirit.
A remembrance banner has been placed near the recently constructed entrance to the Howard Young Medical Center campus along Highway 51. Similar areas are being planned for other facilities in the area.
Oneida County dispatchers were alerted to a missing air ambulance approximately 11:22 p.m. April 26. The last known contact with the helicopter was at approximately 10:55 p.m. Emergency responders searched the last known area of the aircraft. At approximately 2:00 a.m., emergency responders located the helicopter in the town of Hazelhurst. Three occupants, including the pilot were on board the aircraft; all three occupants were found deceased.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are continuing the investigation.
Air Methods and Ascension previously announced that both ground and air medical transport would be suspended until further notice. However, Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transportation has been able to resume operation of its ground units for interfacility transport. The Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Air Medical services remain grounded.