NTSB investigating Flight for Life helicopter crash

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DENVER -- The National Transportation Safety Board arrived in Frisco on Saturday afternoon to investigate a Flight for Life helicopter crash.

The fiery explosion killed 64-year old Patrick Mahany.  He was a Flight for Life pilot since 1987 and served as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War.

"We'll focus on three areas: The man, the machine and the environment," said NTSB investigator Jennifer Rodi.  "We'll look into the pilot's experience. We're aware he has years of experience both military and civilian."

The helicopter took off from Saint Anthony Summit on Friday afternoon.  Investigators believe weather conditions were relatively calm. The NTSB is looking into what happened a hundred feet in the air, seconds into the flight.

"The helicopter appears to be in flight for no more than 20 seconds, it lifts off and shortly after lifting off, it starts to rotate and continues to spin several times before impacting the ground," said Rodi.

Rodi said Mahany and two others on board were headed to a boy scouts camp to educate kids about EMS helicopter operations.  The team was not on a medical call and no patients were in the helicopter.

"This is an extremely difficult time.  It's always hard when you lose anybody whether it be a family or individual in an accident, but when you lose somebody who puts their life on the line everyday, it's even tougher," Rodi said.

The Flight for Life helicopter had been in operation at Saint Anthony Summit since last August.  This is the first crash involving a medical chopper since 2007.

A memorial service for Mahany will be held on July 10 at 10 a.m. at the Dillon Amphitheater with a reception to follow at Copper Mountain Grand Lodge.

With the help of the Flight for Life foundation, a fund was started in honor of the crew members and their families. To make a contribution, visit: gofundme.com/flightforlifeco 

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