Rockford Health Systems held a press conference Tuesday, after losing three of their own in a fatal helicopter crash Monday night.
It's the first time an incident like this has occurred since the REACT program's inception in 1987. Since then, the helicopter has flown over 10,000 times, with an average of 600 flights per year.
Monday night's flight was met with inclement weather, but nothing the crew wasn't trained to deal with. "We're very safe, and it's just part of air operations," REACT Program Director Ron Meadors said. "Weather can be unpredictable so it's not unusual to turn around, come back, and do the transport by ground."
RHS staff says the crew were like family. "I knew that Karen grew up here, and Jim grew up west of here, and Andy was from here, and left and came back," Meadors said. "So we definitely have a hole in our heart for our family members today that are missing."
RHS CEO Gary Kaatz said the organization will focus on the families of those involved in the crash and on their co-workers to help them get through this terrible time.