Downed Medical Helicopter Did Not Have Black Box

The charred wreckage of Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa's Air-Med helicopter lays along the edge of an old fence line two miles northwest of Ventura Thursday morning. The helicopter crashed around 9 p.m. Wednesday night killing three people on board. (THE MASON CITY GLOBE GAZETTE)

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By Adam Carros

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Federal investigators are still looking for the cause of a medical helicopter crash in northern Iowa that killed three people.

Pilot Gene Grell, nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and paramedic Russell Piehl died when the helicopter crashed north of Ventura Wednesday night. They were on the way to Emmetsburg to pick up a patient.

Lair-Langenbau and Piehl worked for Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City.

The CEO of the medical transport company that owned the helicopter says the pilot didn't make any emergency call. The helicopter had a satellite tracking system that monitored its position and other information instead of the traditional onboard black box.

Weather was overcast with 10-to-15 mile per hour winds at the time of the crash.

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