A medical helicopter crashed early Friday morning at Brainerd Airport.
North Memorial Health reported Saturday that pilot Tim McDonald, of Siren, and flight nurse Deb Schott died at the scene after the AgustaWestland AW109 helicopter crashed about 1 a.m. Friday at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. The third person in the helicopter was paramedic Josh Duda, he was taken to a hospital in Brainerd to treat his injuries.
An online fundraiser has been started for the McDonald family. Tim leaves behind his wife Crystal and their four kids. Adventure Church in Siren has set up a meal train and financial fund through the church to help the family.
North Memorial Health Air Care released a statement Friday afternoon: “To our community and friends, thank you, for your condolences in response to the helicopter accident last night,” the statement said. “We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has sent messages of kindness, shared grief and sympathy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family members, friends and all of our colleagues who lost loved ones.”
They announced later their crews would all be grounded until further notice.
The FAA reported that the crash had happened on the helicopter's approach to the airport. However, when Minnesota Public Radio asked Brainerd Airport manager Steven Wright said he could not confirm if the helicopter was taking off or landing. He did confirm it crashed on the ground next to the runway.