KERN COUNTY — ABC30 is reporting that a SkyLife helicopter which took off from Porterville has crashed in Kern County.
According to officials, the helicopter was flying from Porterville Municipal Airport to Meadows Field Airport, and the pilot was not communicating with air traffic controllers as of 7:05 p.m.
ABC30 reports that officials have confirmed four people were killed in the crash, and that the tail number on the helicopter is registered to American Ambulance in Fresno.
A debris field has reportedly been found near Sherwood and Highway 65 in Kern County. The helicopter was transporting a critical patient to San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield. Aboard were the pilot, a flight nurse, a paramedic and the patient. Reports are that fog was heavy in the area at the time of the crash.
Mountain area residents are used to seeing SkyLife helicopters as they respond to emergencies and transport the injured from local accidents to Valley hospitals. They also are well known for making their ships and crews available for mountain area events, educating the public about the vital service they perform.
The photo above is of the helicopter reported to have crashed. In this photo, taken last summer by SNO, the crew is taking off from a field near O’Neals, transporting the victim of a motorcycle accident. The photo below is of the same ship landing on Road 221 on Oct. 17 to transport a North Fork resident who suffered a heart attack.
Our hearts are with the families of those lost, and with the entire extended family of our first responders.