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Names Of Three of Four Killed In SkyLife Crash Released

Roger's Helicopters

The names of three of the four people killed when a life flight helicopter crashed in Kern County are now known. However, the cause of the crash remains a mystery.

Pilot Thomas Hampl, Nurse Marco Lopez and Paramedic Kyle Juarez as well as the patient all died when the helicopter went down east of McFarland in Kern County Thursday night.

The SkyLife Helicopter was transporting a female patient from Porterville to San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield.

American Ambulance CEO Todd Valeri says only about two dozen people work in the life flight division.

“It’s a very close knit group. When you consider the nature of their work which is high stress, high acuity patients. SO they rely on each other. It’s like a family,” Valeri said.

Valeri says it will be some time before they are able to do an investigation into why the helicopter went down.

The crash happened during the company’s annual Christmas Party.

This helicopter is the same one that dodged a drone earlier in the year. This is the only fatal crash in SkyLife's 24 year history.

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio.