3 Killed in Medical Helicopter Crash: Tragedy Hits Emergency Workers on Way to Patient

Three people have been killed in a medical helicopter crash as the emergency helicopter flew between two northern Illinois hospitals on Monday evening.

According to hospital officials, the helicopter pilot as well as two nurses being transported by the helicopter were killed in the crash.

It is still not known what caused the helicopter to go down in a field as it traveled between the hospitals on its way to pick up a patient.

Rockford Memorial Hospital has identified those killed as pilot Andy Olson and flight nurses Karen Hollis and Jim Dillow.

In the hospital's news release the hospital said that its officials were mourning the loss of the "three heroes who dedicated their careers to serving others."

The crash took place on Monday night in Rochelle, which is about 70 miles west of Chicago. The hospital confirmed that no patients were on board the helicopter at the time of the tragedy, although the helicopter was on its way to pick up a patient from Mendota hospital at the time of the crash.

Tony Molinaro, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, has also said that the FAA is helping the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the cause of the crash.

Rockford Memorial Hospital first opened in 1885, and has grown today into a 396-licensed-bed health care facility. On the hospital's website officials claim the hospital has one mission: "Superior care. Every day. For all our patients."

The hospital also received the 2009 HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award, with only the top five percent of all hospitals in the U.S. Being recognized with this award in a report by the leading independent healthcare ratings organization.