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Heroes remembered after deadly helicopter crash

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Pedi-Flight nurse Carrie Barlow (left) and Pedi-Flite respiratory therapist Denise Adams (right) died Tuesday in a medical helicopter crash. Pedi-Flight nurse Carrie Barlow (left) and Pedi-Flite respiratory therapist Denise Adams (right) died Tuesday in a medical helicopter crash.
Hospital Wing Pilot Charles Smith also died in the crash. Hospital Wing Pilot Charles Smith also died in the crash.
FAYETTE COUNTY, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The medical community remembers three crew members as heroes who lost their lives after a deadly medical helicopter crash Tuesday morning.

Charles Smith, Carrie Barlow, and Denise Adams died in a wreck on their way to pick up a patient in Bolivar, TN. The helicopter went down near Somerville, TN.

Smith, 47, worked for the Memphis Police Department in aviation for 25 years before retiring in 2012. When he retired, he went to work for Hospital Wing as a pilot. He leaves behind a wife and two sons.

Carrie Barlow, 43, served as the nurse aboard the chopper. Before going to work for Le Bonheur, she was a neonatal intensive care nurse for Lauderdale Community Hospital and Jackson-Madison County General. Barlow is survived by a husband and three children.

Adams, also 43, worked as a respiratory therapist for Le Bonheur since 2003 and joined the Pedi-Flite crew in 2005. A family member said she was a loving wife and mother to three children.

"Dedicated professionals 'is' even a small smidgen of what they are. True human beings. True lives human beings," said Hospital Wing Bill Conway."You can't do this mission, you can't be a part of this without loving kids and loving emergency medicine."

Le Bonheur and Hospital Wing officials say the entire staff is reeling over the loss of a crew they describe as loving, caring, and compassionate. Officials say Hospital Wing makes about 400 Pedi-Flites per year, which is more than one a day.

"I worked with them on Sunday night. And they did an outstanding job like they always do," said Dr. Jay Pershad, who works in pediatric emergency medicine. "I know they are in a better place, and they have taken care of so many kids in their short life. I can't tell you how incredibly difficult this is for the entire team."

The helicopter was only halfway to its destination and had not yet picked up the patient. That little boy did eventually get to the Le Bonheur and is being treated.

"We want you to know how proud we are of our Pedi-Flite team and how proud we are of the people that take care of children here," said Meri Armour, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

Hospital Wing has been flying LeBonheur Pedi-Flite missions since 1986. Company officials say they will pause to mourn, but they have a responsibility to help ill children and operations will go on.

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