Medevac Heli And Cessna Collide

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A Eurocopter EC135 and a Cessna 172L collided near Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, Va., at about 2:30 p.m., Friday, killing both of the Cessna's occupants. The Eurocopter landed with damage to its skids and "it wasn't pretty," helicopter instructor Mark Huntley told NewsVirginian.com. The Eurocopter, a medical transport helicopter owned by PHI Inc. in Lafayette, La., was returning from a successful mission to University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. All three aboard that aircraft did walk away. The Cessna lost part or all of its left wing in the collision and crumpled debris crashed down on two sides of Route 256, roughly one half mile north of the airport.

Huntley, who heard the collision and witnessed the helicopter's landing, said he thought the Eurocopter's pilot was "very professional shutting it all down." Huntley added, "It wasn't until he was on the ground for a little bit 'til he showed signs of what he'd been through." The Eurocopter had been inbound for landing when it made contact with the Cessna. No route of flight information was immediately available about the Cessna. PHI is working with the FAA and NTSB to investigate the midair.