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Tri-Cities Company Is Newcomer To The Air Ambulance Business

Aeromed, the company that operates the plane that crashed as it was landing at Spokane International Airport, is a relative newcomer to air ambulance service.

The twin-engine Cessna 401 is apparently the company’s only plane, according to Dick Bogard, who rents the company office space at the Richland airport.

The company has quarters for its crew in Kennewick, Bogard said, and keeps its plane at the Pasco airport. One of the company’s owners, David Brooks, also serves as a pilot.

“They were trying to break into the market,” Bogard said.

Brooks and a partner recently purchased the company and started renting office space at the Richland airport about two months ago.

Gladys Jimeno, administrative supervisor at Deaconess Medical Center, said she had only recently become aware of Aeromed. It delivered a patient to Deaconess last week, she said.

The flight - a typical crew - consisted of a pilot, a nurse, a medical technician and the patient, who was being transferred from Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Pasco.

The crash was the third involving air ambulances in the Northwest since 1989.

On Sept. 11, 1995, an Airlift Northwest helicopter en route from Seattle to Bainbridge Island to pick up a pregnant woman in labor crashes into Puget Sound, killing the pilot and two nurses.

In August 1989, a medical helicopter ferrying a wounded Canadian fugitive from Bonner County, Idaho, to Spokane broke apart mid-flight and crashed near Blanchard, Idaho. Three crew members and the fugitive were killed.

, DataTimes