Authorities have released the names of two people who died when a North Memorial Health helicopter crashed as it entered the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport on Friday.
Tim McDonald, 44, a Minnesota native who lived in Danbury, Wis., the helicopter’s pilot, and Deb Schott, 58, a nurse from Lester Prairie, Minn., died at the scene. Joshua Duda, 42, of Pillager, Minn., a paramedic who was also in the helicopter, was injured.
Duda was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd, according to a statement released by North Memorial. His condition has not been disclosed.
No patients were being transported at the time of the crash.
McDonald’s and Duda’s families have requested privacy, a North Memorial spokeswoman said.
A GoFundMe page established on McDonald’s family’s behalf says he was married with four children. His home base as a pilot was the Burnett County Airport near Siren, Wis., according to the GoFundMe page.
McDonald, who friends say was born in Bloomington and graduated from Bloomington Jefferson High School and Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, was also president of Zulu Aviation Products in Siren. The company makes lens covers, designed by McDonald, for aviation night-vision goggles, according to the company’s website. He had a master’s degree in business administration from Oklahoma State University, the website says.
McDonald was also a paramedic for Allina Health, public records show.
Schott’s daughter, Air Force Tech Sgt. Kristie Collins, said Friday that her mother had worked with the air ambulance service for 15 years and as an emergency room nurse for 30 years.
The AgustaWestland A109 helicopter went down about 1 a.m. inside a fenced area at the airport, airport Director Steve Wright said Friday. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
Conditions were foggy in the Brainerd area at the time of the crash.
A prayer vigil for the crash victims will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday at Whipple Beach Recreational Area in Baxter, Minn.
Katy Read • 612-673-4583