The cause for the crash Monday near Palatka, Florida, was not immediately known
Three people died in the crash, which was on a medical flight to harvest organs
"It looked like a normal flight until the last few seconds," NTSB investigator says
Federal investigators were in Florida on Tuesday examining the wreckage of a helicopter crash that killed three people on a medical flight, officials said.
There was no immediate indication of the cause of the crash, which happened Monday morning about 12 miles northeast of Palatka, Florida.
The Mayo Clinic said that two of its employees, a surgeon and a medical technician, died in the crash. The pilot, who was from an outside company, also lost his life.
The National Transportation Safety Board was looking at the wreckage, the pilot’s skills and training and weather conditions to determine what may have caused the crash, said Jose Obregon, the investigator in charge for the NTSB.
A preliminary report should be completed in five to seven days, Obregon said.
There were no immediate theories about the crash, and no distress communications were recorded before it happened, he said.
“It looked like a normal flight until the last few seconds,” Obregon said.
The crash ignited a forest fire, and “a lot of the aircraft was burned up,” he said. “We don’t really have very much to work with, but we will do the best we can.”
The pilot was transporting the two medical staffers to the University of Florida in Gainesville to harvest organs, the Mayo Clinic said. The employees were identified as Dr. Luis Bonilla, who was a cardiac surgeon, and procurement technician David Hines.
The helicopter was owned by SK Jets, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The company has not commented on the incident.