Arizona Collision Felt by Alabama MedEvac Industry

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- It's the first ever mid-air crash involving two medical aircraft.   Now, investigators are searching for answers.

"We're going to work very, very hard to make sure we understand exactly what happened here, determine the probable cause, and make recommendations to prevent it from happening again," said NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker at a press conference Monday.

The organization reports 14 MedEvac crashes last year--with a total of 24 people dead.

Air Evac Lifeteam--which operates in Alabama--lost a crew last December in Tuscumbia.

The company's president says Sunday's crash is a chilling reminder of the risk involved in emergency rescue.

"It's difficult to see a loss of life like that, knowing that they were attempting to save someone else," Seth Myers explained.

With the safety of the patient--and the crew---a top priority, companies like Air Evac Lifeteam work to coordinate with flight controllers on the ground.

Dispatchers even watch the movement of each aircraft in case of an in-flight emergency.

"We have satellite tracking on all of our helicopters, and [we] have for several years now," Myers explained.

Now, with an eye now focused on safety in the skies, the company says air medics and patients across the country have little need to worry.

"I believe we do have a safe industry [. . .] and we are doing the right thing.   It is a very worthwhile cause," Myers said.

Note:  In the coming weeks, NTSB investigators will release a preliminary report with general information on the crash in Arizona.  It could take up to eighteen months before a final report is completed.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke