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Medical helicopter crashes near Rochelle, Ill., killing 3

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 9:25 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — A medical helicopter crashed Monday night on its way to a hospital in Mendota, Ill., killing its three occupants, who were all crew members, officials said.

The helicopter, which took off in Rockford, reportedly crashed about 8:30 p.m. in a field in the small town of Compton, near the city of Rochelle.

The helicopter was destroyed in the crash, according to the FAA.

It had been registered to Rockford Memorial Hospital.

The hospital identified the helicopter's occupants as pilot Andy Olson and flight nurses Jim Dillow and Karen Hollis.

"At Rockford Health System, our hearts are heavy," hospital spokesman Wester Wuori said in an early-morning news release. "We grieve the loss of three heroes who dedicated their careers to serving others."

No patients were on board the flight.

Authorities established a staging area near the intersection of U.S. Route 30 and Illinois Route 251, a dispatcher with the Lee County Sheriff's Office said. The intersection lies between Rochelle and Mendota.

The dispatcher declined to provide additional information.

In October 2008, a medical helicopter crashed after striking a radio tower in Aurora, killing three crew members and a 1-year-old girl.

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