Medical helicopter crashes and bursts into flames killing 3 people (video)

Medical helicopter illustration 
By: Hydar Tomar 

(Scroll down for video) A medical helicopter crashed and was engulfed in flames, killing 3 people on board, according to emergency workers in Iowa.

A nurse, a paramedic and a pilot died when the medical helicopter crashed and burst into flames in a field in northern Iowa.

No patients were on board the helicopter belonging to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, when it hit the ground, just north of Ventura in Cerro Gordo County around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday.

An eyewitness said that he had been surprised by the sound of the helicopter that was flying very low and he then saw a heck of an explosion near his home, which is less than a mile from the accident site.

"My wife and I were looking out the window and wondered what it was, and then the strange sounds went on for about a second or two. After that we saw a big fireball on the ground level," the
eyewitness said.

The hospital identified two of the victims as its employees. The two were nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and paramedic Russell Piehl.

Hospital President and CEO Dan Varnum said: “while both fulfilled important functions, they have played a greater role for our neighbors and friends."

The pilot was identified as Gene Grell. The helicopter was operated by a company of Lewisville, Texas, called Med-Trans Air Medical Transport.