MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A longtime nurse and grandmother is among the victims of a medical helicopter crash in northern Minnesota. Nurse Deb Schott and a pilot died when their North Memorial Health helicopter crashed in foggy weather overnight. A third crew member survived.
North Memorial Health says the helicopter went down around 1 a.m. Friday at the Brainerd Regional Airport, adding that no patients were on board.
Schott spent much of her career in the air working as a nurse, coming to the aid of others. Her husband shared how much she loved her work.
“She loved her job for North Air and she also worked at Waconia emergency rooms. She’s been a nurse for many years,” Gary Schott said.
He said she was good at it, comforting and kind. The 58-year-old mom and grandma who lives in Lester Prairie was based out of Brainerd.
“It’s a 24-hour shift and so they stay there, so yeah– she was supposed to come home seven o’ clock this morning,” Gary Schott said.
Instead, deputies woke Gary up in the middle of the night and delivered the devastating news.
“It won’t hit for a few days down the road. A lot of people like her and love working with her, and it’s going to be a big loss for North Air and Waconia,” he said.
He said he’ll miss their common interests and their travels. And said he doesn’t know how the family will go on without her.
“They’re in shock. It’s going to be very sad without her,” he said.
The surviving crew member was brought to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd. The individual’s condition was not given.
Airport director Steven Wright says investigators are looking at weather conditions at the time of the crash.
“It was foggy. I did verify through weather reports that we did have fog in the area, still within the weather minimums of our normal instrument approaches– so really nothing out of the norm,” Wright said.
Wright says the bottom of the medical helicopter received the most damage.. he says it landed hard on its belly. Right now the wreckage remains on the grounds but both runways are operational.
North Memorial says the FAA and NTSB have been notified of the crash.
In 2016, another North Memorial helicopter crashed near Alexandria airport, injuring the pilot, paramedic and flight nurse.
The NTSB’s investigation found that pilot error during heavier clouds caused that crash.