Care Flight helicopters back in the air

An honor guard with the caskets of three crew members killed in the crash of a medical transport plane near Stagecoach on Feb. 24.

An honor guard with the caskets of three crew members killed in the crash of a medical transport plane near Stagecoach on Feb. 24.

Following a pause of its medical transport services since the Feb. 24, crash of a medical transport plane outside of Stagecoach, three out of the four Care Flight rotor-wing aircraft returned to service on Thursday.

Consistent with Care Flight protocol, crews will bring the fourth rotor-wing aircraft into service aligned with staffing, maintenance and other operational needs. Care Flight’s aviation vendor for its rotor-wing aircraft is MedTrans.

There is no timeline associated with resuming fixed-wing medical transport service. Care Flight’s aviation vendor for fixed-wing medical transport is Guardian Flight.

An honor procession and memorial service was held Wednesday to recognize the medical transport plane crew members who lost their lives in the line of duty in the crash.

Gathering at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Care Flight-REMSA Health leadership, staff, family members, the community, first responder agencies, healthcare partners and dignitaries paid their respects to Care Flight crew members Ed Pricola, BSN, Care Flight nurse; Ryan Watson, Care Flight paramedic and Captain Scott Walton, CFI, CFII, the pilot for Guardian Flight, the aviation vendor for Care Flight’s fixed-wing transport program. The family of the patient and his spouse did not participate in the memorial and has requested that their privacy be respected.

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve were in attendance and speakers included: Major General Ondra L. Berry, Adjutant General for the State of Nevada, REMSA Health President and CEO Barry Duplantis and Director of Care Flight Operations Vanessa Coyle.

"Today we gathered to honor the lives of our Care Flight crew members, Ed Pricola and Ryan Watson," said Duplantis. "We recognize their immense contributions to healthcare and EMS response across the region. We also paid respects to Capt. Scott Walton, the Guardian Flight pilot for his service. We extend our deepest condolences to their families and that of the patient and his spouse. Ed and Ryan epitomized the heart and soul of our organization with the highest integrity, compassion and commitment to the communities we serve. REMSA Health and Care Flight could not be more proud of their contributions and care they provided for our community. We are deeply grateful to have worked alongside them."


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