Toddler Dies In Angel Flight Crash In Iowa

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Angel Flight Central, based in Kansas City, Mo., has flown over 10,000 charitable missions to help people in need of medical care. But on Tuesday, one of those missions ended tragically when a two-year-old girl was killed. The child had traveled with her mother from their home in Georgia to Iowa City for treatment of the child's clubfoot. About 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the TBM 850 charity flight took off from Iowa City Airport to return home. Witnesses said the airplane "turned sideways" shortly after takeoff and quickly descended, skimmed across a highway, hit a ditch, skidded about 100 yards, hit a light post that sheared off a wing, and came to rest in a parking lot. The weather was reportedly overcast and raining, with winds gusting up to 36 mph. The mother and the pilot were injured in the crash.

The pilot is from Bloomington, Ill. Crystal Gollnick, executive director of Angel Flight Central, told The Gazette that the pilot has flown 67 missions for the group. "He is very experienced, very generous," Gollnick said. She added that she could not recall another time when an Angel Flight patient was injured in an accident. Rol Murrow, of the Air Care Alliance, told AVweb on Wednesday that "the NTSB doesn't separate out public benefit flights [from other statistics]." He said he could recall a few accidents over the years, and estimated that the accident rate for charity flights is about the same as the overall GA rate. The nationwide Angel Flight Network runs about 20,000 missions a year in the United States.