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Home / News / Pilot Jeff Burke, flight nurses Kris Harrison, Crystal Sollinger die in Duke Life Flight helicopter crash

Pilot Jeff Burke, flight nurses Kris Harrison, Crystal Sollinger die in Duke Life Flight helicopter crash

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A Duke University Health System helicopter crashed two days ago, killing at least four people including the patient, the two nurses and the captain of the ill-fated helicopter. The crash took place in Perquimans County in eastern North Carolina on Friday.

The news has devastated not just the Duke Life Flight staff and the family members of the people who lost their lives in the tragic incident, but also those people who came in contact with these people in the course of taking care of their patients. Many people have expressed their condolences for the three Duke Life Flight staff including nurses and the pilot.

Reports suggest that the helicopter went down around 11:45 a.m. Officials claim that the helicopter was returning to Duke from the Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City.

The exact location where the helicopter belonging to the Duke University Health System went down has been revealed. N.C. Highway Patrol spokesman Master Trooper Christopher Knox said the helicopter went down around near Belvidere, close to the Virginia border and about 160 miles east of Raleigh.

In the meantime Duke University Health System officials have identified the three victims who lost their lives in the copter crash. The three victims included flight nurses Kris Harrison, R.N. and Crystal Sollinger, R.N. and, the pilot, Jeff Burke. The identity of the patient they were transporting was not released.

Till now the cause of crash hasn’t been released, though the investigation into the crash has been launched.

Meanwhile, while talking to the media, Kevin Sowers, president of Duke University Hospital, said that dead include two nurses, the pilot and the patient they were transferring from Elizabeth City.

Kris Harrison with wife/ Courtesy GoFundMe

He went on to add, “Today is a tragic loss for all of us…The men and women of our Life Flight program know when they go to work every day that there are risks in taking off. Yet they go because they’re committed to saving lives. That’s an incredible part of our mission.”

In the meantime Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood in a Facebook post said, “We in emergency services know there are inherent dangers which come along with the job; nevertheless we answer the call…Our brothers and sisters will be missed but never forgotten.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Holly Thompson Brewer for Kris Harrison’s wife and their two daughters. Holly Thompson Brewer, while writing about the loss of Kris Harrison says, “We appreciate the outpouring of love and support for Kasey Harrison and her two beautiful girls. (Thank you for not tagging her or messaging her just yet.) I am not at all ready to share about their loss of their husband and daddy, Kris. If you know them, you likely know about the accident with Duke Life Flight yesterday. Kris was a hero and died a hero. THE ONLY reason I am even discussing this publicly is because so many of you have asked how you can help. I set up a Go Fund Me page to give Kasey everything you donate. She will need help in the coming months as they grieve an unimaginable loss, as they cope with a heartache that is unbearable, as they lay him to rest, and as they adapt to a life they never expected to live without him. I believe with all my heart that Kris would ask me to pray for his girls, to be there, to help take care of them. That is what we will do. If you would like to contribute, here is the link. Feel free to share”

On the other hand, Scott Kunkel‎ While writing on his Facebook page says, “My thoughts and prayers go out to my friends and our air medical colleagues at Duke Life Flight for the loss of your team members in the crash yesterday. The professionals in the air medical community have always struct me as “doers”, faced with a challenge it is a group of people would always dig in and engage in the valuable services that are delivered to those in need. I suppose that is what brings a whole different dimension to our grief; knowing that our engagement has to shift from the active participation to a supportive initiatives that are focused more on long-term healing. To the team at Duke Life Flight – know that we are with you and that you have a broad community of support to lean on as you get through this very painful time”.

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