3 killed in North Dakota air ambulance crash called heroes

This Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, photo provided by the Morton County Sheriff's Office shows the wreckage of a twin-engine Bismarck Air Medical airplane that crashed late Sunday, Nov. 18 about 20 miles northwest of Bismarck, N.D., killing all three on board. (Morton County Sheriff's Office via AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Hundreds of mourners turned out Monday to remember three people killed in an air ambulance crash in North Dakota who were hailed as “heroes of the impossible.”

A crowd estimated at up to 1,500 attended a memorial for the victims at the Bismarck Event Center. Members of dozens of North Dakota ambulance services, police and fire departments slowly filed past the front of the memorial for paramedic Chris Iverson, nurse Bonnie Cook and pilot Todd Lasky, The Bismarck Tribune reported .

The Rev. Greg Carr of Crisis Care Chaplaincy spoke of the coming together of hospitals, law enforcement, fire and rescue and emergency medical personnel he has seen in the week since the crash.

“Every one of them, they watch out for one another because in the first response world, we set aside all political, religious, economical and social differences and we work together to get the jobs done that we need to get done,” Carr said in welcoming mourners to the two-hour service. “All throughout the past week, we have witnessed the truth of this.”

The Rev. Bryan Hochhalter eulogized Iverson, 47, of Mandan, a family man who loved his work.

“Men and women who serve as first responders prove themselves over and over to be people who excel in traits like empathy, initiative, courage, generosity, vigilance, selflessness, positivity, compassion,” Hochhalter said.

Cook, 63, of Bismarck, was remembered for her 28 years in the CHI St. Alexius neonatal intensive care unit, her travels and her role as the oldest of 15 siblings.

Cook’s career was her “calling,” said Kilee Harmon, development director for CHI St. Alexius Health Bismarck Foundation. In 1995, Cook joined the NICU transport team.

“She loved being on the team. She would not hesitate to drop everything at a moment’s notice,” Harmon said. “This was her favorite thing to do.”

Carr spoke of Lasky’s closeness to his family, his traits as “a man’s man” and a charismatic pilot who always put his crew and passengers first.

“There was nothing mediocre the way Todd did anything,” Carr said of the 48-year-old pilot from Bismarck.

Monsignor James Shea praised emergency responders as “heroes of the impossible.”

“We know that we find in them women and men who know what it means to face an impossible task, who extend themselves in astonishing ways for our safety and security,” Shea said.

The air ambulance carrying the three crashed into a farm field shortly after taking off from Bismarck on Nov. 18. The twin-engine plane was flying to Williston to pick up a patient. The Civil Air Patrol said an initial investigation indicates the Cessna 441 might have broken up in midair.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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