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Hospital Wing Medical Helicopter Crash Near Brownsville TN

Posted on Mar 26, 2010

Federal aviation officials are investigating the cause of the fatal crash of a Hospital Wing medical helicopter near Brownsville, Tennessee.  Another medical helicopter company, AirEvac Lifetime turned down the flight due to dangerous and threatening weather. 

A spokesperson for AirEvac Lifetime stated," We turned it down because the weather was bad." "I have no idea if it was the same exact patient, but it was the only call we received at that time."

Three people including the pilot and two nurses were killed in the crash of the Hospital Wing medical helicopter.  They were Doug Phillips a retired Memphis Police Department pilot, Cindy Parker and Misty Brogdan, both flight nurses.  Phillips and Parker were from Dyersburg, TN while Brogdon resided in Jackson, TN.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the crash that occurred in a wheat field about four miles east of Brownsville.  Brownsville is approximately 55 miles northeast of Memphis, Tennessee.

Reports indicate that the medical helicopter was on it's way back to its base in Brownsville after making a trip from Decatur County General Hospital in Parsons, Tennessee to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee.

A nearby resident reported hearing a "whoomp, whoomp, whoomp" sound followed by a loud noise a little before feeling her house shake from the impact. 

A spokesperson with the FAA said that the pilot did not indicate any problems prior to the crash. A thunderstorm was in progress immediately before the crash at McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport in Jackson, about 25 miles east of Brownsville.

The NTSB and the FAA will investigate all possible causes of the crash including at everything from the aircraft to the weather.

Hospital Wing is a helicopter medical emergency transport service jointly owned and operated by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Baptist Memorial Hospital, the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis and Crittenden Memorial Hospital in West Memphis.

The joint venture between the above healthcare providers, employ 45 workers. It flies three helicopters from its base in Memphis TN, one from the Brownsville, TN base and one from the Oxford, MS base.

Hospital Wing faced safety questions in May 1987, which grounded its fleet for a week, after one of it's helicopters experienced engine failure en route to a training program in Oxford, MS. The cause of the problem was determined to be a turbine blade that had come loose from the engine. Further investigation of that incident by the NTSB and the FAA indicated cracks in the turbine blades of two other aircraft owned and maintained by Hospital Wing.


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