Five people died on Friday, February 24, 2023 when a Care Flight air ambulance plane crashed near Stagecoach, Nevada amid stormy conditions. Authorities identified the deceased as pilot Scott Walton, flight paramedic Ryan Watson, flight nurse Ed Pricola, patient Mark “Bear” Rand, and his wife, Terri Rand.
According to media reports, the Pilatus PC-12 plane departed from Reno, Nevada at approximately 9:00 p.m. to transport Mr. Rand to Salt Lake City, Utah for life-saving treatment. The plane, operated by Guardian Flight, was at an altitude of 19,000 feet when it began to fall from the sky at around 9:45 p.m. Authorities say there is evidence that the air ambulance “broke up in flight” at approximately 11,000 feet. A search team found the wreckage at approximately 11:15 p.m.
Care Flight is a service of REMSA Health, headquartered in Reno, Nevada. The company provides ground and air ambulance services throughout northern Nevada and northeastern California. Guardian Flight is headquartered in Utah.
Our law firm is in litigation in a case involving a Guardian Flight-operated air ambulance that crashed in 2022. More on this below.
Victims of Air Ambulance Crash in Nevada
Mark “Bear” Rand and Terri Rand: Mark was a patient on his way to Utah to receive life-saving treatment. His wife, Terri, was a passenger on the ill-fated flight. Family members described the couple as “big hearted, family oriented” parents and grandparents.
Scott Walton: Walton was a pilot for Guardian Flight. Described as a “passionate” aviator, Walton was a longtime pilot and flight instructor who leaves behind a wife and three young daughters.
Ryan Watson: Watson was a beloved flight paramedic. He is survived by his wife and their newborn daughter.
Ed Pricola: Pricola worked as a registered flight nurse for REMSA Health. He previously worked at Renown and Carson Tahoe hospital. Pricola is survived by his wife and their two children.
What Caused the Nevada Air Ambulance Crash?
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived in Nevada to start their investigation into the cause of the fatal crash air ambulance crash. It will likely take the agency a year or more to complete the investigation and report on the cause (or causes) of the crash.
Aviation attorney Timothy A. Loranger says NTSB investigators will learn what they can from the wreckage, analyze the actions of the pilot, and examine maintenance records for any anomalies. Weather conditions at the time will also be looked at, as icing and turbulence were reported in the area at the time of the crash.
“The fact that pieces of the aircraft were scattered miles apart indicates that the aircraft broke up in flight. While the cause of the breakup is unknown, it may have been due to severe turbulence, a high-speed descent after a stall due to severe icing conditions, or a serious mechanical failure unrelated to weather,” Loranger says. “Planes in the air do not fall break apart and fall from the sky unless something catastrophic happens.”
Another potential issue that investigators will examine is company protocols. The NTSB said Guardian Flight has been investigated multiple times in recent years after air ambulance crashes. The Nevada crash, per NTSB, is the fourth the agency has investigated recently. Of those, three resulted in fatalities. Wisner Baum has been retained in a case involving a Guardian Flight-operated plane that crashed in December of 2022. That incident remains under investigation.
While the air ambulance plane that crashed in Nevada was not equipped with cockpit voice or flight data recorders, Loranger says investigators should have a better idea of potential causes or contributing factors when the agency issues its preliminary report in the next couple of weeks. The final report will list the probable cause (or causes) of the crash and highlight any relevant safety issues to prevent future accidents.
Air Ambulance Crash Lawyer Team with Successful Track Record
The air ambulance crash lawyers at Wisner Baum have a proven track record of success in cases against medical aviation companies. Our legal team understands what it takes to thoroughly investigate, gather evidence, and build the strongest possible case for our clients.
Our proven track record in air ambulance crash cases includes:
Hawaii Beechcraft C90B King Air Medical Transport Plane Crash
We have been retained in a case stemming from a December 2022 air ambulance crash in Hawaii that killed pilot Brian Treptow, flight nurse Courtney Parry, and flight paramedic Gabriel Camacho. This flight was also operated by Guardian Flight and remains under investigation.
SkyLife Medical Helicopter Crash
Our aviation attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of the mother and father of a substitute teacher killed in a medical helicopter crash.
Maryland State Police Medevac Crash
Wisner Baum successfully represented the mother of the only passenger killed in a medical helicopter crash. In response to this tragedy, the Federal Aviation Administration mandated Collision-Warning Devices be installed on all medical helicopters.
Los Angeles Fire Department Medical Helicopter Crash
We successfully represented the families of three Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics who were killed in a medical helicopter crash. Our firm changed aviation product liability law in an earlier Appeals Court decision stemming from this case.
Arizona Guardian Air Transport Medical Plane Crash
We successfully handled a case stemming from a medical plane crash in Flagstaff, Arizona.
California Flying Doctors of Mercy Plane Crash
Our lawyer team successfully represented the family of a doctor who was killed in a crash in a remote Camp Pendleton canyon in California.
Colorado Medical Evacuation Helicopter Crash
Our firm successfully resolved a case on behalf of a paramedic injured in a medical helicopter crash in Bayfield, Colorado.
Mexico Flying Doctors of Mercy Plane Crash
Our lawyers successfully represented a doctor who sustained severe injuries in an air ambulance crash.
Some of the reasons people continue to choose Wisner Baum to represent their interests in aviation accident cases:
- Our aviation team has earned over half a billion in verdicts and settlements in plane and helicopter crash cases.
- We have settled 150+ aviation accident cases for $1 million or more.
- We have won over $4 billion in verdicts and settlements across all areas of practice.
- We are the first law firm in the country to secure an official public apology from an airline after a fatal plane crash.
To learn more about your legal rights following an air ambulance crash, contact us or call (855) 948-5098 to schedule a free case consultation with one of our skilled aviation accident attorneys.