A Duke Life Flight helicopter that crashed on Friday killing all four people on board was based at the Johnston Regional Airport in Smithfield.
The emergency medical transport helicopter went down in a field near the Amazon US Wind Farm near Belvidere in Perquimans County.
Officials said the helicopter had just picked up a patient at the Sentara Albermarle Medical Center and was headed to Duke Medical Center when it crashed.
The pilot, two medical personnel and the patient were killed. The names of the victims were not immediately released.
Johnston County Commissioners and Johnston Regional Airport officials joined others in the community in offering condolences to the families of the four victims.
“Our county’s leadership joins many others around the region and the state in expressing our great shock and sadness over today’s tragedy,” said Jeff Carver, chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “Our hearts, minds and prayers are with the families of those who were on board the Duke Life Flight aircraft, and we offer them our condolences and support in the difficult days, weeks and months ahead.”
Johnston Regional Airport has been the base of operations for Duke Life Flight for over a decade. The program’s two helicopters are among 100 other aircraft based at JNX, which is located about 54 miles southeast of Duke Med’s flagship hospital in Durham.
“Our partnership with Duke Life Flight has been and will continue to be a point of considerable pride for JNX,” said Airport Director Phil Lanier. “Their pilots and crew set high standards for professionalism in all that they do, demonstrating courage and dedication in their daily work of saving lives.”
The FAA responded to the scene to investigate the cause of the crash.
The Duke Life Flight program has been grounded until further notice according to Duke Medical Center.