OZARK, Ark. (AP/KXAN) — Three people were killed and one was injured when a sightseeing helicopter crashed near a music festival in the Ozark Mountains in western Arkansas Sunday night, authorities said.
Pilot Chuck Dixon, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and two passengers — Sarah Hill of Austin, Texas, and Marco Ornelas of Mexico, died in the helicopter crash. Zachari Peterson of Omaha, Nebraska, was life-flighted to Tulsa with life-threatening injuries, according to KXAN’s sister station, KNWA.
Hill was previously an intern at the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. HAAM Executive Director Reenie Collins sent KXAN a statement regarding Hill’s death.
“We are heartbroken by the news of Sarah Hill’s passing. During her time at HAAM, she demonstrated a lot of talent and a deep love for the music industry – she was a wonderful part of our team and a truly lovely person. The world has lost a bright light, and the music industry has lost a brilliant young woman who had a promising career ahead of her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time,“ Collins said.
An Arkansas State Police spokesman says the helicopter was found about 500 yards south of the festival grounds on Mulberry Mountain.
The wreckage was located by search and rescue officials after the aircraft was reported overdue from a trip. FAA investigators are on their way to the accident site, and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.